Our Board of Managers
(*indicates founding member)
Jodi Magee, MSW*
Jodi Magee is the founding President and Chief Executive Officer of the US organization Physicians for Reproductive Health, the model for the Global Doctors for Choice Project. Under her leadership since 1995, Physicians for Reproductive Health has grown into a $5 million national advocacy organization with a team of 29 programs in reproductive health policy, physician advocacy training, and medical education, as well as special initiatives. In 2010, Physicians for Reproductive Health was named one of 19 US high-impact nonprofits in the reproductive health sector by Philanthropedia.As of
September 2014, Physicians is Charity Navigator’s highest-ranked reproductive rights organization in the United States.
Prior to her leadership of Physicians for Reproductive Health, Ms. Magee created programs, directed staff, and raised funds for leading US nonprofit organizations as both a staff member and a consultant. Her professional experience includes working with organizations such as the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut, and Connecticut NARAL (a domestic abortion rights organization), among others. She has also served on political campaigns and community boards. Ms. Magee holds a Master of Social Work (with a specialty in social policy) and a Bachelor of Social Work, both from Rutgers University. Ms. Magee founded Global Doctors for Choice in 2007 with Dr. Wendy Chavkin, and is currently the chairperson of the Board of Managers.
Michelle V. Hall
Michelle Hall is the Director for Columbia University Medical Center Programs and Services at the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL). She provides cross-campus leadership and direction around services, technology platforms, and faculty development aimed at faculty and academic departments. Michelle has designed and developed numerous successful educational technology programs and workshops for faculty at Columbia University.
Before joining the CTL, Michelle worked as an instructional designer, creating web-based learning courses for Citigroup’s Risk Management division and McGraw Hill Construction’s Continuing Education Center. Prior to that, she served for several years as a secondary-school teacher of biology and chemistry in Barbados. Michelle has an M.A. in Computing and Education from Teachers College. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Cognitive Studies in Education at Teachers College.
Michelle joined the Global Doctors for Choice Board of Managers in 2015 and shares her program design and communications expertise.
Nancy Natilson, MBA
Nancy Natilson has been an independent international development consultant for the last twenty years, specializing in microenterprise development and its intersection with reproductive health. She has developed curriculum on financial analysis, performance monitoring, and strategic planning and budgeting. Recent assignments included: facilitating business management training and access to microfinance to rural private clinic owners who belong to a reproductive health franchise network in Ethiopia and Malawi; establishing a microfinance pilot tailored to meet the needs of rehabilitated drug users and people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS in Vietnam; and co-leading a financial sustainability workshop for NGOs in Africa. Ms. Natilson was also Financial Advisor for five years to Pro Mujer a microfinance organization in five Latin American countries that integrates access to credit with business skills training and reproductive health education and services.
Prior to her international consulting career, Ms. Natilson spent ten years as an international commercial banker, including five in Venezuela as a representative of an American bank. Later she taught Women in the Developing World and Bank Management as an adjunct professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Ms. Natilson is currently Treasurer of the Board of Planned Parenthood of Central and Southwest Florida, and also Treasurer of the Board of the Florida Community of Mindfulness. She received a Masters in Business Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined GDC Board of Managers in 2015 as Treasurer.
John Koku Awoonor-Williams, MD, MPH, MPP, PhD*
Lead Doctor, GDC/Ghana and Board of Managers Member
Dr. John Koku Awoonor-Williams is the director of policy planning, monitoring, and evaluation of the Ghana Health Services for the Upper East Region, the Health Services lead for Mobile Technology for Community Health (MoTeCH), and the National Community-Based Health Planning Service (CHPS) coordinator for Ghana Health Services. Prior to these positions, he was the executive director of Nkwanta Health Development Research Centre and the medical superintendent of Nkwanta District Hospital for 11 years. Dr. Awoonor-Williams is a member of the Ghana Medical Association, Ghana College of Physicians and Surgeons, American Public Health Association, Population Association of America, and the Global Health Council. His research and publications focus primarily on community-based health systems, safe motherhood, and reproductive health services. Dr. Awoonor-Williams received his Master in Public Administration in 2008 from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration, his Master of Public Health in 1995 from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom, and his medical degree in 1988 from the Minsk State Medical Institute in Belarus. The founder of GDC/Ghana, Dr. Awoonor-Williams joined Global Doctors for Choice in 2009 and is a member of the Board of Managers.
Wendy Chavkin, MD, MPH*
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Chavkin is professor of public health and obstetrics/gynecology at Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health and College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. She also helped found and served as chair of the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Health in the US. She has been a site director of the Charlotte Ellertson Social Science Postdoctoral Fellowship in Abortion and Reproductive Health, director of the Soros Reproductive Health and Rights Fellowship, associate editor for The American Journal of Public Health, editor-in-chief of The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association, and director of The Bureau of Maternity Services and Family Planning in New York City’s Department of Health. Dr. Chavkin has written extensively about reproductive health issues, including the consequences of welfare reform for the health of women and children, work and pregnancy, abortion, HIV, illegal drug use in pregnancy, and assisted reproductive technologies. She received a Fulbright Fellowship for research on policy responses to declining birth rates. She is the author of several books, including Double Exposure: Women’s Health Hazards on the Job and at Home; Where Human Rights Begin: Health, Sexuality and Women in the New Millennium (with Ellen Chesler); The Globalization of Motherhood: The Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Biology and Care (with JaneMaree Maher); and the forthcoming Globalized Fatherhood (with Marcia Inhorn). Dr. Chavkin received her medical degree from the State University of New York in 1978 and a Master of Public Health from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, in 1981. Dr. Chavkin founded Global Doctors for Choice in 2007 with Jodi Magee, and is currently a member of the Board of Managers.
Rodica Comendant, MD, PhD
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Rodica Comendant is an associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology of the State University of Medicine and Pharmacy of Moldova , from which graduated and received her PhD. She also serves as the head of the Reproductive Health Training Center (RHTC) in Chisinau, and the Regional Training Center for the European Environment and Sustainable Development Advisory Councils (EECA). For the last 20 years, RHTC has been the leading organization in Moldova for the sexual and reproductive health and rights field, including in safe abortion and family planning. Dr. Comendant also serves an international trainer for medical abortion and manual vacuum aspiration (MVA) and has conducted trainings on comprehensive abortion care (CAC) for Ipas and the National Abortion Federation (NAF) in Russia, Georgia, Kirgizstan, Ukraine, and other countries in EECA region. Currently she is a Consultant for Concept Foundation and the World Health Organization (WHO) on the Global Combipack Initiative. Additionally, Dr. Comendant has been a consultant for WHO and has led numerous Strategic Assessments on abortion in Eastern European countries.
Previously, Dr. Comendant served as the Coordinator for the International Consortium for Medical Abortion (2005-2015), the regional coordinator for FIGO Initiative for Preventing Unsafe Abortion for EECA region, a Senior Consulting Associate at Gynuity Health Projects for several years, and the principal investigator for numerous clinical studies that contributed to the successful implementation of medical abortion in Moldova.
Monica Dragoman, MD, MPH
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Monica Dragoman currently serves as Medical Director of Planned Parenthood of New York City (PPNYC) which offers a full-range of sexual and reproductive health services to people across all five boroughs of New York City. Dr. Dragoman has a strong track record of promoting high quality, comprehensive reproductive health care throughout her career. She held a faculty appointment at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY as Division Director of Family Planning where she developed and directed a Kenneth J. Ryan Residency Training Program in Abortion and Contraception. As a Medical Officer in the Department of Reproductive Health and Research at the World Health Organization (WHO), she conducted clinical research and contributed substantially to the development of new and updated guidelines promoting evidence-based abortion and contraception service delivery, including the WHO Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use (MEC), 5th Edition and Health Worker Roles in Providing Safe Abortion Care and Post Abortion Contraception. She continued work to increase access to medical abortion in the U.S. and around the globe as part of the team at Gynuity Health Projects . She has also served as a consultant for WHO, Gynuity Health Projects, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), International Planned Parenthood Federation , and the Affiliates Risk Management System of Planned Parenthood Federation of America . She remains actively engaged in clinical care and continues to routinely train diverse cadres of clinicians. Her research and publications emphasize understanding safety and best practices for patient-centered provision of medical abortion, surgical abortion and contraception.
Dr. Dragoman is a U.S. board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and fellow of the Society of Family Planning and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists . She completed her medical degree at the Medical College of Ohio (now University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences ) and residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center . She also completed a Family Planning Fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital during which time she also received an MPH in Epidemiology at the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health .
Mary Favier, MB BCh
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Mary Favier is a founding member of and serves on the executive committee of Doctors for Choice, an Irish organization of doctors founded in 2002 that supports a woman’s right to chose abortion. They campaign for the provision of safe legal abortion in Ireland. They advocate the decriminalization of abortion and the regulation of its provision. They are currently campaigning to remove the Irish constitutional prohibition on abortion and to promote the provision of early medical abortion in a primary care setting.
Dr. Favier is a principal and partner in family medicine since 1998, a Member of the Irish College of General Practitioners (ICGP), and a Fellow of the Royal College of General Practitioners (UK). She holds additional Diploma qualifications in Medical Education, Child Health, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She is a guest lecturer to the undergraduate Medical School in University College Cork (UCC) and to the Postgraduate Family Medicine training programme in UCC. She sits on the Council of the ICGP and on the ICGP Professional Competence Committee. She has been an executive member of the ICGP and Chair of the ICGP Education Committee. She has been both an Educational Fellow and a Continuing Medical Education Tutor for the ICGP. She was elected to the Medical Council and sat on the Fitness to Practice committee as a Non Consultant Hospital Doctor. She has sat on the board of the local Rape Crisis Centre and was medical advisor to a local Sexual Health Service for eight years. She sat on the board of the Medical Protection Society, the world’s largest provider of medical indemnity, for two four year terms from 2005-2013. She dedicates ¾ of her time to clinical practice and ¼ to providing expert legal opinion reports on breach of duty.
Laura Gil, MD
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Laura Gil is an abortion provider and has been active in abortion training and in disseminating the concept of the health exception after abortion was partially decriminalized in Colombia in 2006. She currently is the program director of ESAR , a foundation that provides training in sexual and reproductive health services in ten countries in Latin America. She serves as an advisor for FLASOG’ s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Committee and part of the FIGO Safe Abortion Committee.
Dr. Gil has been a speaker at “La Mesa por la Vida y la Salud de las Mujeres ” (the Women’s Life and Health Coalition), focusing on topics such as the standards and concepts of Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy (VIP) in Colombia, with an emphasis on health-related causes. She has also provided support for specific VIP request cases that have been instrumental in the pursuit of defending women’s health rights. She received her medical training from the National University of Colombia , and completed training in sexual and reproductive health research in developing countries at the Geneva Foundation for Medical Education and Research in association with the World Health Organization.
Ana Cristina González Vélez, MD, MS, PhD Candidate*
Lead Doctor, GDC/Colombia and Board of Managers Member
An expert in sexual and reproductive health and rights, health care reform, and advocacy, Dr. Ana Cristina González Vélez has served on various national boards, including the National Institutes of Health, Colciencias, and INVIMA, as well as international boards, such as the Association for Women’s Rights, Advisory Panel for the Americas, and Senior Technical Advisory Group of the World Health Organization (WHO). Dr. González Vélez has been actively involved in the women’s movement at both the local and international levels. She has been a featured expert at the United Nations conferences on population, development, and gender. Vélez’s work has been published in international journals and books on sexual and reproductive health. She has worked as a consultant and conducted research with the support of the WHO, the Pan American Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Center for Reproductive Rights, the United Nations Population Fund, the International Planned Parenthood Federation, and the Ford Foundation, among others. Dr. González Vélez worked as a physician and an advisor at PROFAMILIA in Bogotá from 1996 until 2000 and as the national director of Public Health in Colombia from 2002 to 2004.
She is a graduate of the Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín, Colombia, and holds a master’s degree in social health research from the Center for Study on State and Society, CEDES, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. As the founder of GDC/Colombia, Dr. González Vélez has worked with Global Doctors for Choice since 2008.
Beverly Winikoff, MD, MPH*
Board of Managers Member
Dr. Beverly Winikoff is the president of Gynuity Health Projects. Before beginning work on Gynuity, Dr. Winikoff was employed for 25 years at the Population Council where she was director for reproductive health and a senior medical associate. She developed and managed the Council’s Ebert Program on Critical Issues in Reproductive Health, including work on safe motherhood, prevention of STDs/AIDS, prevention of unsafe abortion, provision of safe abortion care, and improving postpartum care for mothers and babies. Prior to joining the Council in 1978, she was assistant director for health sciences for the Rockefeller Foundation. Her work has focused on issues of reproductive choice, contraception, abortion, and women’s health. She has served on numerous boards of directors, including the Reproductive Health Technologies Project (founding member), Physicians for Reproductive Health (founding member), the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, the National Abortion Federation, The MediTeam Trust in South Africa, The Society of Family Planning, and Medicines360. Dr. Winikoff received the Carl S. Schultz Award from the American Public Health Association in 2007 and the Irvin M. Cushner Lectureship award from the Association for Reproductive Health Professionals in 2009. Dr. Winikoff is also a professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City. Dr. Winikoff graduated from Harvard University magna cum laude, earned her medical degree from New York University and her MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Winikoff joined Global Doctors for Choice in 2010 and currently sits on the Board of Managers.
Previous Board Members
GDC recognizes and appreciates the contribution of previous Board and Steering Committee Members to the creation and vision of Global Doctors for Choice.
- Alfonso Carrera, MD*
- Ntandho Patrick Godi, MBChB, FCOG(SA)
- Cristião Fernando Rosas, MD*
Our Coordinating Team
GDC’s Coordinating Team supports its work across our action centers and coordinates opportunities to collaborate with other international, regional, and national medical, advocacy, academic, and research organizations. Our staff includes:
Beth Felker, MA, Program Manager
Beth has spent her career investing in and supporting health promotion initiatives for youth and families. With over 10 years advocating for underserved population’s health, including international and reproductive health, Beth offers significant experience in strategic direction, program development, innovative collaborative initiatives, and philanthropic ventures. Drawing on her studies and work in a variety of medical and public health programs and experience living in Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru, and Argentina and working in Belize, Costa Rica, and Colombia, Beth has a deep, abiding passion for cultivating sustainable changes in underserved population’s health and quality of life.
Prior to joining GDC, Beth served as Executive Director for SpineHope, an international pediatric nonprofit that provided spine surgeries for children in Latin America. She was responsible for their strategic leadership, administrative management, fundraising, and collaborative partnership program development. Beth holds a B.A. double major in psychology and intercultural communications from Southwestern University and a M.A. in sustainable international development from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University.
We currently are recruiting an Executive Director. We welcome submissions and the circulation of this posting.