PDI Staff Profiles
Alexis Brooke Felder : Communications and Project Associate
Alexis joined the PDI team in June 2008 as Program Coordinator and in December 2009 transitioned into the position of Communications and Project Associate. Alexis is currently working on expanding the PDI website and spreading the word about the Positive Deviance (PD) approach, documenting projects in communities, and learning facilitation skills for the application of the PD approach. Before working at the PDI, Alexis served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyzstan.
Monique Sternin: Senior Consultant
Monique and her husband Jerry developed the Positive Deviance approach over the last two decades. In addition to using the PD approach to fight childhood malnutrition in the developing world, Monique has promoted the use of the PD approach in various sectors, such as advocacy against female genital mutilation (FGM) in Egypt, condom usage for commercial sex workers in Myanmar, and maternal & newborn care in Pakistan. Monique’s passion for the PD approach stems from its successful impact in improving lives of thousands of women and children throughout the world and providing a powerful tool for communities to solve seemingly intractable problems.
Roger Swartz: Executive Director
Roger Swartz joined the PDI team as Executive Director in November 2010. Roger brings significant leadership experience in public health policy and practice. Roger came to the PDI from the Boston Public Health Commission where he was Director of the Community Initiatives Bureau for ten years. In this role, Roger was responsible for managing staff and programs in the Divisions of Chronic Disease Prevention & Control (including food systems, obesity and physical activity), Environmental Health, Healthy Homes & Community Supports and Civic Engagement & Advocacy. Roger also worked for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and was instrumental in establishing the Tobacco Prevention & Control Program in MA. In addition, Roger brings significant experience managing and implementing international public health programs having worked in Africa and the Middle East. He has worked with John Snow, Inc., World Vision International and the Peace Corps.
Faina Thompson: Grants Associate
MM, joined the PDI team in August of 2012 as Grants Coordinator. In this role, Ms. Thompson manages business and operations aspects of grant activities at PDI by participating in planning, budgeting, application, implementation, monitoring, closeout, and evaluation of grant projects. Faina earned her Masters of Management degree from Cambridge College and previously worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital as a Pre-Award Grants Administrator.
Randa Wilkinson: Training Director
Randa Wilkinson, MS is the Director of Training at the Positive Deviance Initiative. She is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition and Food Policy.
She began her career as a Peace Corps Volunteer working with mothers and malnourished children in Mauritania, West Africa. She has lived in Europe, Asia and Africa. Randa had firsthand experience implementing programs using the Positive Deviance Approach in the context of childhood malnutrition and goiter during her 8 years in Indonesia. Her work included building the capacity of government health staff to use Positive Deviance in their work and programming. She was instrumental in developing a network of practitioners among NGOs and government. Randa was nutrition technical advisor for the USAID funded Maternal and Newborn project in Indonesia. Her work in clinical training, advocacy and community education contributed to tripling immediate breastfeeding rates in targeted provinces in Indonesia. She developed training manuals and a video that has been incorporated into the Indonesian national clinical training program for physicians and midwives. The video is also part of the WHO protocol for home based deliveries: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwK37nKwM30
The current projects at PDI with which Randa is involved include truancy and school performance, teen pregnancy, social isolation among people with mental health diagnosis, young adults with mental health diagnosis contribution to society, and older adults health outcomes. Randa speaks French, Indonesian and is conversant in Pulaar.