Paul Emerson, PhD

Dr. Paul Emerson is CWW’s Interim Director since February 01, 2021, bringing over 20 years of experience working in Africa to eliminate trachoma, malaria, and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Paul makes strong use of data to plan and focus program delivery, and emphasizes operational research with academic partners to overcome barriers to scale-up and service delivery. He has supported partner ministries of health and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in strategy, program development, training, implementation, monitoring, and impact assessment. Paul serves as the Director of the International Trachoma Initiative (ITI), a sister program of CWW at the Task Force for Global Health that provides comprehensive support to national ministries of health and governmental and nongovernmental organizations to implement the SAFE strategy to fight trachoma.

Prior to joining ITI, Paul worked at The Carter Center where he was director of the Trachoma Control Program and co-director for The Carter Center’s Malaria Control Program. Paul integrated trachoma program delivery with malaria control in Ethiopia, with Guinea worm eradication in South Sudan, and with lymphatic filariasis in Nigeria. The Carter Center is a close partner of ITI and while Paul was there, The Carter Center became the first NGO to support the distribution of more than 100 million doses of Zithromax®.

Paul was instrumental in the formation of the International Coalition for Trachoma Control (ICTC) serving on the executive group as vice chair, chair, or immediate past chair for a total of eight years and setting it up as the successful collaborative membership organization it is today. He currently is a member of the WHO AFRO Regional Program Review Group (for NTDS) and chairs the steering committee of the WHO AFRO Expanded Special Project for the Elimination of NTDs in Africa.

Paul worked in a number of other positions including research fellow and lecturer of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, at the University of Durham where he was the grant holder and principal investigator leading a small team on multi-country evaluations of trachoma control programs assisted by HKI and World Vision. He has worked for the Medical Research Council Laboratories in The Gambia, the Ministry of Education in Botswana, and the Ministry of Education in Kenya.

Paul is an adjunct assistant professor at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. He is an author on more than 130 peer-reviewed papers, and has authored several letters, editorials and manuals on the SAFE Strategy to combat trachoma as well as on the innovation, integration, and surveys and surveillance in the fields of trachoma and malaria control.

Paul holds a doctorate in Biological and Biomedical Sciences from the University of Durham, a Masters in Science. in Applied Parasitology and Medical Entomology from the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, a Post Graduate Certificate of Education from Bath Spa University, and a Bachelor of Science. in Zoology from the University of Nottingham.

In 2012, Paul received the Trachoma Gold Medal: For ‘Les service exceptionnels rendus dans la lutte contre le Trachome’ [Exceptional services bestowed in the battle against trachoma] awarded by the International Organization Against Trachoma and the French League Against Trachoma.

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Mariana Stephens, MPH

As Deputy Director, Mariana provides strategic leadership and technical direction for the CWW program. Mariana is responsible for overall management, implementation, personnel budget, and financial oversight of the program. Before joining the CWW team, Mariana worked with the NTD Support Center (NTD-SC) providing strategic planning and directed the development and implementation of complex, multi-institutional operational research programs. Her focus was on targeting the special challenges of national NTD programs supported by USAID and providing a rapid research response to these programs. Mariana is also an active member of the Center for Global Safe Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (CGSW) at Emory University. The mission of the CGSW is to enable organizations and communities to provide safe, effective, and sustainable drinking water and effective and sustainable sanitation and hygiene improvements.

Prior to joining the NTD-SC, Mariana has worked with CARE, World Vision International, and Habitat for Humanity International in various technical areas focused on WASH, maternal and child health, food security and nutrition, embracing program design, and monitoring and evaluation. She began her career in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Mali serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the late 1980s. Mariana holds a master’s degree in public health and a bachelor’s degree in environmental design.


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Sanjaya Dhakal, PhD

As an Epidemiologist, Sanjaya leads in the development of survey tools, provides country-specific scientific leadership in survey implementation, data management, curation, and analysis. Sanjaya brings experience in both the government and private sectors. His prior experience includes working at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for eight years in different capacities, including a tour as an EIS Officer at the Food and Drug Administration. He was part of the CDC’s response to the H1N1 outbreak in the U.S. and the Ebola outbreak in Sierra Leone. He also worked as a consultant at BlueCross BlueShield Association and the World Health Organization. His research domains include outbreak investigations, epidemiologic methods, and public health program development and evaluation.

He holds a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of Pittsburgh, an MPhil from the University of Bergen, Norway, and an MSc from Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Nepal.

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Cara Tupps, MScPH

Cara supports the overall technical and operational functions of CWW. Cara oversees CWW’s work in Kenya and is responsible for providing programmatic support to the partners there. She also contributes to the analysis and mapping of program data across multiple counties. Before joining the team, Cara worked in humanitarian relief and development in 10 different countries. Her experience includes capacity building, proposal development, grant management, donor relations, monitoring and evaluation, emergency and outbreak response, and managing country portfolios. She also served as a United States Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique, where she helped to develop community-based health education programs. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Auburn University and an MSc in Public Health for Development from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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Sallay Manah

As Program Assistant, Sallay provides administrative, programmatic, and logistical support to the CWW team. Before joining CWW, Sallay worked in both domestic and global health. Domestically, Sallay worked at the Department of Health and Human Services’ CMS Innovation Center where she was the Communications and Monitoring and Evaluation Lead for the Value-Based Insurance Design and Part D Enhanced Medication Therapy Management models. Her global health experience includes serving as a United States Peace Corps Volunteer in Namibia. During her tenure, she helped develop and implement antiretroviral therapy adherence programs for adolescents living with HIV/AIDS within the Oshana and Oshikoto regions in the rural northern part of the country. Sallay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Administration from California State University.

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Rachel Wallace

Rachel Wallace is a graduate student at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University and has been serving as CWW’s communications intern since October, 2020.  In her role, Rachel supports CWW’s external communications by drafting news stories, managing our web presence, and through targeted social media messaging. Before joining the CWW team, Rachel worked as a contact tracer for an Ohio health department,  and in this role, she educated the community about COVID-19, and managed quarantine and isolation cases. Prior to that, Rachel was a Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, where she worked on capacity building, program implementation, monitoring and evaluation of health programming and development projects in West Africa.

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