Flying Eye Hospital Directors
Ahmed Gomaa, MSc, PhD, FRCS, Egypt
Medical Director, Flying Eye Hospital
Ahmed graduated with honors from Kasr-Al-Aini Medical School in Egypt in 1997. He completed his basic and higher ophthalmological training in Kasr-Al-Aini teaching hospitals in Cairo, Egypt. Throughout his term, he regularly took part in students and residents teaching and training and organized and delivered eye care to patients. He has a master’s degree in Community Eye Health from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. This degree provided him with the knowledge and skills needed to plan and deliver eye care programs with a global understanding of blindness problems worldwide.
In 2006, Ahmed worked for one year on board the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) as a staff ophthalmologist where he helped plan and lead globally successful programs. Clinically, Ahmed is a senior ophthalmologist with special interest in anterior segment disorders and corneal blindness. For the last 5 years, he worked in the UK where he completed two highly specialized fellowships in anterior segment and cornea disorders before working as a consultant ophthalmic surgeon in Cheltenham hospitals. His work has been recognized and published in a variety of peer reviewed journals.
At ORBIS, Ahmed will provide medical and programmatic leadership for the FEH team, oversee the coordination and implementation of its medical training programs, and facilitate the coherence of regional programmatic initiatives. Ahmed joined the FEH team in August 2012.
Bruce Johnson, United States
Director, Aircraft Operations
Bruce has a long and varied career working in the military, private, and humanitarian sectors of the aircraft industry. He began in the US Air Force, where he worked for 10 years maintaining, repairing, and inspecting aircraft engines, parts, and materials. He continued his career with the US Air Force Reserves as a Flight Engineer for 18 years before moving to Boeing Aerospace for 9 years, the world’s largest aircraft manufacturer. Bruce then spent 12 years with ORBIS International’s largest corporate sponsor, FedEx, as a DC-10 Flight Training Instructor.
Bruce first began at ORBIS in 2005, working as a volunteer pilot and is now currently responsible for the oversight of all aviation and logistical operations at ORBIS International. He was appointed the Director of Aircraft Operations in April 2008.
Anna María Mohr, M.D., Guatemala & Germany
Anna Maria attended Universidad de San Carlos de Guatemala, where she earned her medical degree and trained at the Rodolfo Robles Valverde hospital where she graduated as Ophthalmologist. She has experience working in both public and private practice and most recently underwent training in the Anterior Segment Department at the same hospital in Guatemala City. She has a special interest in Cornea and external diseases.
Anna Maria learned of ORBIS when she joined the residency program at the beginning of her training in Ophthalmology and has been excited to join the FEH team since then. Of Guatemalan and German origin, Anna Maria speaks Spanish, English, German, and Dutch and had lived in Germany, the Netherlands, and Guatemala. Anna Maria joined the FEH team in May 2012.
Emile Sharifi, M.D., United States
Emile holds a Bachelor’s degree in European studies from University of California, Los Angeles where he focused on the Francophone world with an emphasis on French and Arabic culture during the colonial period. Prior to medical school he completed a Fulbright scholarship in Syria in 2003. His medical degree was earned at the University of California, San Francisco in 2007, after which he became a UCSF research associate for medical decision analysis, a field in which he has published in several peer-reviewed medical journals. In 2013 he completed his residency training in Ophthalmology at the University of Washington, Seattle. His professional experiences encompass a range of healthcare delivery to underserved populations, including vaccination programs in refugee camps, and establishing a community clinic in one of the most indigent parts of the urban United States. In the personal realm he has a passion for international cuisines, languages, and cultures that have made him a life-long student of French, Arabic, Farsi, and Spanish. He joined the FEH team in July 2013.
Gabriela Ruiz González, M.D., Mexico
Gabriela studied Medicine in Universidad LaSalle in Mexico City, Ophthalmology and completed a fellowship in oculoplastics at Fundación Conde de Valenciana, also in Mexico City. She has done social service in distant comunities around Mexico, mainly in Veracruz and Oaxaca including a program called Brigadas Médicas. Recently she has worked with a private practice in México City and in Córdoba, Veracruz where she lived during her childhood. She is a member of the Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology and the Mexican Oculoplastics association. Gabriela joined the FEH team in January 2011.
Joanne (Jing) Barleta, M.D., Philippines
Joanne graduated Medicine in University of the East Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC) in 2001, accomplishing her residency training as the chief resident in Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC), Philippines in 2005. She continued to advance her knowledge by undergoing and completing her fellowship on Refractive and Corneal specialty at the Asian Eye Institute in Rockwell Center, Makati City Philippines in January 2010. In her endeavor to help others, she is a consultant in a government hospital in the Philippines which lead to her becoming a member of ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital. Joanne joined the FEH team in June 2010.
Marc Anthony Cepeda, M.D., Philippines
Marc graduated from the University of the East – Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center (UERMMMC), Manila, Philippines in 1996 and took his medical internship at St. Luke’s Medical Center, Manila, Philippines. He finished his residency as chief resident at the Quirino Memorial Medical Center (QMMC), Philippines in 2004 and, after training, he was involved in humanitarian activities on cataract with a local non-government organization in Manila. Before joining ORBIS in June 2012, Dr. Cepeda held a private practice and worked in health policy, attached to the Philippines Department of Health. Marc joined the FEH team in June 2012.
Elisa Urruchi Huamán, R.N., Peru
Elisa graduated with a Bachelor of Nursing at the Universidad Nacional del Centro del Peru, and completed a master degree in health services management at the Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. Additionally, she obtained an Ophthalmological care specialist diploma. One of her main achievements is being a co-founder of the Ophthalmological Nursing Peruvian Association in which she still is part of the executive board.
She has been working at the Instituto Nacional de Oftalmologia as a scrub nurse in the operation room for 4 years. She has also worked for the Ricardo Palma Clinic for 11 years –as part of the Oftalmologos Contreras practice crew where she was in charge of the Ophthalmological service. She also worked for MACULA D&T Clinic holding the position of head nurse up to last year. She participated alongside ORBIS in the 2006 visit to Chiclayo-Peru, providing translation services for the nurses. Elisa joined the FEH team in January 2011.
Jacqueline Newton, R.N., South Africa & United Kingdom
Jacqueline obtained a nursing diploma from Johannesburg Hospital Training School for Nurses in South Africa in 1988. She obtained the Operating Theatre Nursing Science Diploma in 1991 and worked as an operating theatre nurse for four years at hospitals associated with Netcare in Cape Town. Jacqueline worked at King Khalid Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyhad, Saudi Arabia, for five and a half years as an operating theatre nurse, and worked at Bougainvillea Clinic, British Virgin Islands, for one year as an operating theatre nurse in plastic surgery. Jacqueline worked at the Tygervalley Waterfront Eye Laser & Cataract Centre in Belleville, South Africa, as a nursing manager before joining the FEH team in June 2008.
Leonardo Mercado, R.N., Philippines
Leo holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila and has more than 14 years of nursing experience. For eight years Leo worked as an operating room nurse and then as a charge nurse at King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Prior to this, Leo lived in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, where he worked as an operating and recovery room nurse at Infant Jesus Hospital and as a charge nurse for Medical Mission Inc. at the University of Santo Tomas. Leo joined the FEH team in 1996 and holds the distinction of being the longest serving member of the crew.
Maria Carolina C. Sembrano, R.N., Philippines
Carol previously worked as the Nurse Unit Manager in the operating and recovery room at St. Luke’s Medical Center’s International Eye Institute in Manila, Philippines. She received her bachelor degree in nursing from the University of Santo Tomas, College of Nursing, in the Philippines. Carol joined the FEH team in March 2012.
Xiao Ying Liu, R.N., China
Xiao Ying is a 1999 graduate Registered Nurse from the Wuhan Nusing School at the Hubei Medical University in China, and is a practicing general operating room nurse. In her past role, at the Specialized Medical Centre in Saudi Arabi, she performed surgeries from Tonsillectomies to Hernia Repair. This hospital also performed Ophthalmic Surgeries and Xiao Ying was the nurse responsible for the ophthalmic services performed in the operating room.
Prior to Saudi Arabi, Xiao Ying worked at both the Hubei Eye Centre and the Wuhan Aier Ophthalmology Centre. It was during Xiao Ying's work at the Wuhan Aier Ophthalmology Centre that she discovered ORBIS during the Flying Eye Hospital's 2007 Wuhan program. As a participant nurse on the FEH training program, and a passionate nurse trainer and patient advocate, Xiao Ying was determined to one day return to the FEH as a team member to continue the cycle of nurse training to her colleagues around the world. Xiao Ying joined the FEH team in August 2010.
Andrew Choyce MBChB, FRCA, United Kingdom
Andrew graduated from medical school in the United Kingdom and has over 20 years of experience in anesthesia. He maintains his practice working both part time as a consultant anesthetist in London and part time for ORBIS as staff anesthesiologist.
Andrew has a background of working in the developing world with a number of other organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders and IMPACT. Andrew began working with ORBIS, both as a volunteer faculty member and an FEH team member, in 2005.
Maung Maung Gyi (Ronald), Myanmar
Healthcare Technology Trainer
Maung Maung Gyi has more than 25 years of experience in the field of biomedical engineering. He graduated from Yangon University where he studied engineering and applied Physics. He began his career as the medical equipment service engineer in the Department of Medical Research under the Ministry of Health where he was responsible for installation, repair, and maintenance of medical equipment. He was trained by Carl Zeiss in Germany in the field of ophthalmic equipment and micro-surgical instruments and also by the Technical University of Budapest in Hungary in the field of advanced biomedical equipment. He became later involved in research and development of medical equipment as well as conducting training courses for junior engineers on troubleshooting, repair, and maintenance of equipment and educating users on safe and effective use of hospital and laboratory equipment. Most recently he was in the Philippines as the biomedical engineering instructor and trained hospital technicians under the medical equipment training project, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Manila. He has past experience working on the Flying Eye Hospital (FEH) as a biomedical engineer in 1996 and again as the healthcare technology trainer in 2008. Ronald rejoined the FEH team in May 2013.
Xiao Ming Cheng, China
Senior Biomedical Engineer
Xiao-Ming has more than 15 years of experience in the biomedical field. Previously, Xiao-Ming has worked at Peking Union Medical College Hospital as a biomedical engineer. He holds a doctorate in biomedical engineering from Peking Union Medical College. Part of his training took place at Ottawa Civic Hospital in Ottawa, Canada, and at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland, USA. Xiao Ming joined the FEH team in 1999.
Flavia Draganus, United States
Flavia attended The American University of Paris, France where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in International Politics and a Master’s Degree in International Affairs.
Most recently, Flavia was a Communications and Public Affairs associate at SKDKnickerbocker in New York, a national strategic communications firm. Prior to that, Flavia worked as a communications and advocacy consultant for PATH and the GAVI Alliance in Geneva, for UNESCO in Bangkok, and in the press office of the International Energy Agency in Paris. She speaks French, Romanian, and Hungarian. Flavia joined the FEH team in May 2012.
Gangadhar Jalli, India
Audio Visual Support Manager
Gangadhar completed diploma in electronics and communications and has a bachelor degree in business management. He received training in video editing, video camera, and 3D animation. He has worked in the central audio visual unit of L V Prasad Eye Institute and has experience in editing instructional, surgical and patient information videos. He also edited and co-produced documentaries on health related topics. Gangadhar volunteered as an AV Specialist on board the FEH in Africa programs in 2006 and joined the FEH team in June 2010.
Solomon Aberra, Ethiopia
IT & Operations Coordinator
Solomon Aberra was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and is a graduate in Industrial Chemistry and Computer Science from Bahir Dar Polytechnic Institute and Addis Ababa University, respectively. He has also done the Certification in Humanitarian Logistics from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport of UK and has worked as a Chemist in a Pharmaceuticals Manufacturing / Food Processing and later in a Chemical industry before changing his career into IT. Solomon has more than 7 years of experience in IT and includes experiences in Computer Network Administration and Users Support. He worked in other NGOs, such as Concern Worldwide, before joining the FEH team in January 2013.
Program / Logistics/ Administration
Alexander Javad Adel, United States
Program Manager, Flying Eye Hospital
Alexander recently graduated as a Peace Corps Fellow with a Master’s degree in International Development from the University of Denver. During his graduate studies he worked as a consultant developing capacity building programs for rural girls in South Sudan, as well as intern with the United Nations Development Programme in Mauritius where he created country programming towards gender mainstreaming initiatives. Previously, he established a socially responsible company in Cambodia focused on poverty reduction and he has worked in microenterprise development and public health initiatives for US Peace Corps in Kenya. He also holds a Bachelor’s degree in graphic design where he formerly worked for various marketing and communication firms. Alexander joined the FEH team in July 2012.
Jean-François Viens, Canada
Advance Logistics Manager, Flying Eye Hospital
Jean-François Viens was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He has more than 20 years of experience in the aviation field. His experience includes management of airport and air operations in post-conflict & hazardous areas. Jean-Francois has worked for 10 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in both public (UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, UN World Food Program Humanitarian Air Services & The World bank Group) as well as in private sectors (USAID & UN / US DOD contractors). This is his second turn at ORBIS, as in 2010 he was the Flying Eye Hospital’s Operations Manager. Jean-François joined the FEH team in April 2012.
Kimberly Lipman-White, United States
Administration & Operations Coordinator, Flying Eye Hospital
Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Engineering from Columbia University. While studying engineering, Kimberly actively pursued ventures in public health and outreach through campus organizations and internships. In her senior year she worked with a team of 3 engineers to create a portable incubator for developing countries that was both cost and resource efficient – it will be tested in Uganda. Previously, Kimberly has interned with Women at Risk, St. Luke’s Medical Center, and Cell and Tissue Engineering Lab. She has also volunteered with public health brigades focused in Honduras. Kimberly joined the FEH team in April 2011.
McKenzie Price, United States
Program Administrator, Flying Eye Hospital
McKenzie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology from Howard University and also studied sustainable development and wildlife management in Kenya during this time. She received her Masters of Science degree in Comparative Politics-Conflict Studies from the London School of Economics and wrote her dissertation on political legitimacy, development, and terrorism in Somalia. Previously, McKenzie worked at Human Rights Watch and the International Women’s Health Coalition. She has interned with the State Department in Nairobi, Kenya and the Central Intelligence Agency and volunteered with organizations focusing on refugees and asylum seekers in both the US and UK. McKenzie joined the FEH team in April 2011.
Sylvana Rochet-Belleri, Colombia & France
Associate Director of Programs, Flying Eye Hospital
Throughout her nine years of professional experience, Sylvana has honed her skills as a cross-cultural strategist, launching programs in underserved areas and training high-level executives in institutions such as the European Commission in Brussels. Previously an international program manager at the American Cancer Society, she led public health campaigns and capacity-building initiatives in North Africa, Latin America and Sweden. She holds a BA in international relations from Florida International University, and a MA from New York University Paris in French civilization with focus on foreign affairs. Having studied and worked in France and Colombia, she is fluent in French and Spanish. Since 2011, she is a Steering Committee Member of the Carnegie New Leaders Program at the Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. Sylvana joined the FEH team in August 2012.
Richard Jorgenson, United States
Richard worked for United Airlines for 36 years in aircraft maintenance. He retired as a maintenance supervisor in 2002. Most of his time with United involved servicing DC-10s — the same type of aircraft as the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital. He joined the FEH team as an employee in May 2010.
John Mashino, United States
John Mashino holds an FAA Airframe & Powerplant Certificate from the School of Aeronautics and Related Trades in Montana. He spent 34 years in aircraft maintenance at United Airlines. John retired as a Line Airframe and Power Plant Mechanic in 2001. He joined the FEH team in 2008.