About Us

Founded in 2010 by Dr. Robert Malkin from Duke University, Global Public Service Academy (GPSA) was created with an understanding that youth and young adults can make a difference in the world.

We are a socially responsible organization whose mission is to improve community health services in low resource areas of Guatemala, Belize, Thailand and the USA and provide hands-on experiential learning programs to young adults who have a passion for health occupations.

We achieve our mission by:

  1. Working in partnership with local health authorities, clinics, healthcare workers and community stakeholders to identify community needs, support health programming, design and implement community health projects.
  2. Working in educational collaboration with experts in the field of global health to offer high quality health curriculums, online programming and travel programs to Guatemala, Belize, Thailand and West Virginia, USA for young adults. Our participants receive healthcare training, work alongside local health workers and support the health system of low resource communities in a cross-cultural engagement.

Our core values are:

Wellbeing

A concern for others’ wellbeing in central to all we do; from nurturing our participants, to providing services to low resource communities, to supporting the professional and personal development our staff.

 

Community

Our work is built around community. We create projects and programs with the participation of the community to ensure that their needs are addressed. We establish long-term relationships with partners which are built on trust and respect; they are the reason we exist.

Personal Growth

Our programs are hands-on, transformational experiences that challenge our participants to stretch beyond their comfort zone, make a tangible difference and become a better global citizen.

Vanessa Brombosz, Director

Vanessa is from Montreal, Canada. After completing degrees at McGill University in Canada in the fields of behavioral psychology and occupational therapy, she worked for more than five years as an occupational therapist specializing in orthopedic rehabilitation and dementia care. In 2016, she completed and MSc in Public Health at McGill University where she completed an internship with the World Bank Peru in the National HIV Allocation Efficiency Analysis program. Vanessa joined the GPSA team in 2016. She has a passion for managing teams/volunteers and working with local health authorities to evaluate the community health needs, design and implement health projects that address health disparities to improve the quality of life of people living in low resource communities. Vanessa lives in Xela, Guatemala.

Lennert Rohde, Director

Lennert graduated from the University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, the Netherlands in 2001 with a degree in Communications Management. After college, Lennert worked in the Netherlands for six years as a recruiter and consultant for an engineering staffing agency. He moved to Guatemala in 2007, first working as the coordinator of an NGO until 2009, afterwards teaching English to college and high school students. Lennert joined GPSA in 2014 as the Recruiter, and since 2017 as the Recruiting Manager. He sees his current position as a perfect opportunity to grow professionally, combining with his passion for different cultures and languages. lennert.rohde@gpsa.org

Marissa Loterina, Senior Program Coordinator

Upon receiving her bachelor’s degrees in International Affairs and Sociology at the University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!), Marissa pursued a master’s degree in International Development at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver. She believes in building the capacity of locals and collaborating with them to find solutions in order to achieve long-term sustainability and meaningful impact. She has experience in program management, monitoring & evaluation, communications, fundraising, and team capacity building in cross-cultural settings. Marissa is originally from sunny Los Angeles, California. When she’s not busy working, she enjoys painting, listening to music, traveling, and eating delicious food! 

Nataysia Mikula-Noble, Mentor

Nataysia recently graduated from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland) with a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Medicine. Nataysia’s Honours Dissertation, Identifying Clusters of Multimorbid Disease and Differences by Age, Sex, and Socioeconomic Status is the largest review of multimorbidity conducted to date and investigated 58 papers containing primary data from countries around the world. The dissertation included recommendations involving both clinical applications, such as modification of the Reeves effective team wheel as well as public health campaigns specifically educating the public about multimorbidity. Nataysia was a student volunteer and Leader in Training with GPSA in Guatemala and Belize, including leading a public health campaign centered around diabetes and transmissible diseases. Back home in Vancouver, Canada, Nataysia is a long-standing volunteer at the Vancouver Canuck Children’s Hospice. Nataysia will be attending the University of Edinburgh this fall, where she will be completing her Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery Degree (MBChB). She is passionate about public health, and will continue furthering her research about multimorbidity. Her hobbies include scuba diving, nature photography, and running. 

Ximena Wellmann, Mentor

Ximena is a Public Health student from Guatemala, soon to start her graduate program in Epidemiology. When she was 16, she moved to Norway to complete her International Baccalaureate degree. During her studies, she volunteered with the Red Cross and learned more about preventive care and health disparities. After high school, she studies Public Health at the University of Florida. In her freshman year, she enrolled in a research group where they worked on assessing the WASH issues in Haiti, how to improve their current health systems, and how to do so in a culturally competent way. Her professor, Dr. Wood, was extremely passionate about gender issues and she learned about the gender-responsiveness approach and data collection to address GBV. In her junior and senior years, she started her undergraduate thesis to evaluate women’s knowledge of Disaster Risk Reduction after tropical storms Eta/Iota in Guatemala. The same year she completed her internship assessing the impact of palm cultivation on the health of neighboring communities in the Alta Verapaz region, in Guatemala. At this time, she was finishing her Bachelor’s degree and decided to take a gap year to get another type of Public Health experience. That’s when she started a job position as a Grants Writer Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity Guatemala, an NGO working to reduce the housing deficit in Guatemala.

In the fall of 2022 she will start a two-year program in Epidemiology. Soon, she will be moving to Granada, Spain, for year 1, and finish her graduate studies in Paris, France, for year 2.

Victoria Kraus, Mentor

Victoria earned her Master of Public Health degree from Emory University in 2019. Upon graduation, she became the Program Coordinator for the Ventanilla de Salud (Window to Health) Atlanta, a preventative community health program for individuals visiting the Consulate General of Mexico in Altanta. There, she implemented a personalized behavioral health intervention which increased healthy behaviors among participants and improved the quality of health services provided by the program. Before Emory, she served in the Peace Corps in Guatemala as a Maternal and Child Health Facilitator collaborating with the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance of Guatemala. She joined the Emory Prevention Research Center as a Project Coordinator for SurvivorLink, a patient-controlled digital health platform that was created to increase follow-up care among pediatric cancer survivors. Currently, she coordinates the implementation and evaluation of the SurvivorLink project with cancer clinics across the nation.

Neha Kamat, Mentor

Neha graduated in 2014 from Emory University with a Bachelor of Science and in 2019 with a Master of Public Health. She is a current PHI/CDC Fellow in Strategic Information with CDC Mozambique. She currently works on a variety of projects, from supporting an HIV key population mapping and size estimation study to producing analytical datasets from a national, patient-level database. Prior to the fellowship, she worked in evaluation, impact measurement, community health education, and program management in non-profit and research settings. She is fluent in Spanish, although now it’s a mix with Portuguese and is learning Hindi. When not reading young adult fiction, you can find her walking to find street food.  

Erica Guerrido, Mentor

Erica is a Research and Compliance Administrator in the Office of Research Affairs at the University of Florida, College of Medicine-Jacksonville. She is a Public Health professional with distinguished communication and interpersonal skills. Her 10+ years in research has yielded her experience in engaging, liaising with, and working with various populations including low-income, disadvantaged, and minority populations to senior university faculty. Outside of her role as a Research Administrator, Erica is an Adjunct Professor for the Department of Public Health in the Brooks College of Health at the University of North Florida. Erica holds an MPH with a concentration in Urban Health from Northeastern University, a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from the University of North Florida, and has her Certification in Public Health. Erica’s happy place is the BEACH, she’s been on Wheel of Fortune (and won some cash!), and has lived in Iceland and Japan.