Strategic Leadership

As part of its learning agenda, Alive & Thrive created a stakeholder and technical advisory group (STAG) comprised of experts in social behavior change, maternal, infant, and young child nutrition (MIYCN), systems strengthening, and policy advocacy.

The STAG supports A&T to:

  • identify studies, operational research, secondary data analysis, and other approaches to answering questions related to MIYCN;
  • prioritize activities based on selection of learning questions and applicability to countries;
  • determine the focus for new or updated technical briefs to meet the needs of country programs and policy makers; and provide technical assistance to build the capacity of country teams and partners in study design and data collection/analysis.



France Bégin, PhD
Country Representative | UNICEF Equatorial Guinea

Dr. Bégin is delighted to contribute to the new phase of Alive & Thrive’s learning portfolio with the goal of sharing ideas and practices on the implementation of at-scale nutrition interventions for women and children. Her current focus is programs, policies, and advocacy to improve breastfeeding practices and the quality of the diets of young children.

Parul Christian, DrPH, MSc
Professor | International Health, Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Division of Human Nutrition

Dr. Christian offers a strong background in maternal and child nutrition and is currently focused on scientific advances in promoting growth, resilience and survival in early life through effective solutions for the low-income context. Her expertise in epidemiology and public health is helping guide dialogue on research questions and analysis of data.

Kathryn G. Dewey, PhD
Distinguished Professor | Department of Nutrition, Director of the Program in International and Community Nutrition, University of California, Davis

Dr. Dewey’s expertise in maternal, infant, and young child nutrition in both low- and high-income populations is a tremendous asset to the work of Alive & Thrive. She is currently devoting her work to the nutrient status of infants and young children, maternal nutrition during pregnancy and lactation, and risk factors for early lactation difficulties and inadequate milk transfer.

Habtamu Fekadu, MD, MSc
Senior Director of Nutrition | Save the Children

Dr. Fekadu brings his extensive background in pediatric medicine and nutrition, as well as expertise in multisectoral nutrition programming. The focus for his current work is development-oriented nutrition.

Valerie Flax, PhD, MPH
Senior Public Health Analyst; Food, Nutrition, and Obesity Policy Research Program | RTI International

Dr. Flax conducted an Alive & Thrive (A&T) small grant and has lead impact evaluation work for A&T Nigeria. She is happy to be able to contribute to the broader work of A&T through the STAG. Her area of expertise is maternal and child nutrition with emphasis on the use of formative data for intervention design and program evaluation. Her current research is focused on nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions, drivers of food choice in dual burden households, and nutrition and HIV.

Edward Frongillo, PhD
Professor | Department of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior; Director, Global Health Initiatives, Arnold School of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Dr. Frongillo brings experience in maternal and child nutrition, food security, nutrition policy and evaluation, and a strong desire to help develop learning from the work of the Alive & Thrive (A&T) initiative. His current research and field work is focused on the integration of nutrition and child development, child food security, nutrition policy advancement, and program evaluation.

Amy Webb Girard, PhD
Assistant Professor | Hubert Department of Global Health Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University

Dr. Webb Girard is thrilled for the opportunity to support the Alive & Thrive initiative in its current and future efforts. Her work focuses on social, economic, and environmental determinants of maternal and child nutrition, and translating those learnings into contextually relevant and theoretically ground social behavior change strategies for integrated, nutrition-sensitive programming.

Ross Hammond, PhD
Director | Center on Social Dynamics and Policy Senior Fellow, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution

Dr. Hammond’s primary expertise is modeling complex dynamics in economic, social, and public health systems using mathematical and computational methods. His current research on obesity etiology and prevention, food systems, and behavioral epidemiology will enhance the work of Alive & Thrive.

Purnima Menon, PhD
Senior Research Fellow | Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division International Food Policy Research Institute, India

Dr. Menon has been involved with Alive & Thrive (A&T) since 2008 when she worked with the initial consortium partners to develop the A&T proposal. She was later selected to lead a team of researchers in conducting the impact, process, costing, and policy analysis studies for the first phase of A&T’s work in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Vietnam. She currently focuses on building support and systems for increasing the gathering and use of evidence for nutrition in India.

Siméon Nanama, PhD
Nutrition Regional Advisor | UNICEF WCARO

Dr. Nanama aims to contribute to global knowledge about nutrition, especially child feeding, and to focus on keeping current on emerging evidence in nutrition. His background in international nutrition, with a focus on the link between nutritional status and food insecurity, will be an invaluable resource to Alive & Thrive.

Jaspal S. Sandhu, PhD
Managing Partner & Co-Founder | Gobee Group Lecturer, Community Health Sciences, School of Public Health University of California, Berkeley

Dr. Sandhu leads human-centered design efforts to drive innovation for the health of communities and populations. His teams are currently working to improve data use throughout Ethiopia’s national health system. He is thrilled to join this group and hopes to bring a different perspective for how to engage mothers - and others - to support innovations that matter most for the first 1,000 da

Meera Shekar, PhD
Global Lead-Nutrition | Health, Nutrition and Population Practice, The World Bank Group

Dr. Shekar brings a strong background in international nutrition, epidemiology, and population studies. She is currently focused on global nutrition and human capital.

Alison Tumilowicz, PhD, MPH, RD
Program Officer, Maternal, Neonatal and Child Health | Global Development Program, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Dr. Tumilowicz contributes to the STAG and A&T’s implementation research agenda with extensive experience in dietetics, international nutrition, and public health. Her expertise spans prevention and treatment of malnutrition, management of country-level operations, implementation research, and development of global technical guidance. Her work focuses on answering questions on how to expand and deepen maternal and child nutrition impacts at scale.

Rajani R. Ved, MD, MPH
Advisor, for Community Processes/Primary Health Care | Executive Director, of the National Health Systems Resource Centre, India

Dr. Ved has over 30 years of experience working with governments, donors, NGOs, foundations, etc. on health systems strengthening and women and children’s health and nutrition. She desires to support the work of Alive & Thrive by applying a health-systems lens to support policy learning, advocating for the role of embedded research, and enabling a better understanding of the mediating effect of context on implementation.