RAHEL NARDOS, MD, MCR
Dr. Rahel Nardos is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She also serves as Director of Global Women’s Health within the Center of Global Health and Social Responsibility at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Nardos was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She received a scholarship to attend Franklin and Marshall college where she earned her BS in Biopsychology. A Yale School of Medicine graduate, she completed her residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis.
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Following her residency and with support from Worldwide Fistula Fund, Dr. Nardos spent one year as staff surgeon at the Addis Ababa Hamlin Fistula Hospital where she served women with childbirth injuries. She then returned to the United States and completed her fellowship training in female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery, as well as her master’s degree in clinical research at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU).
After her training, Dr. Nardos served as the Division Head of Urogynecology at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and Director of Global Health in OBGYN at OHSU. She was recognized for her clinical work and leadership as the 2018 recipient of the Kaiser Permanente Distinguished Physician Award. Global Fund for Women named Dr. Nardos a Mama Hero to recognize her contribution to global women’s health. At OHSU, she founded Footsteps to Healing, a global women’s health initiative which provided team based surgical services to rural Ethiopian women with severe pelvic floor disorders. In 2015, Dr Nardos joined the board of Worldwide Fistula Foundation (WFF), where she currently serves as the chair of Programming committee to support capacity building in the care of women with childbirth injuries in multiple countries in Africa. As part of her leadership role, Dr Nardos has been involved in the creation and ongoing support of the first formal Urogynecology Fellowship program in Ethiopia.
In 2020, Dr. Nardos co-founded and currently serves as the vice chair of Global Perm NW, an NGO based in Portland, Oregon, which was created to build healthcare capacity in low resource settings. Dr. Nardos is the immediate past chair of the American Urogynecologic Society Global Health Interest Group.
RAHEL GHEBRE, MD, MPH
Dr. Rahel Ghebre is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Gynecologic Oncology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and co-Vice Chair of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. She received her medical degree from the University of Michigan and MPH from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. She is an expert in the surgical and medical management of women diagnosed with ovarian, endometrial, cervical, and vulva/vaginal cancers. Her research is focused on improving cancer care for women with gynecologic cancers by increasing access to quality care and clinical trials domestically and internationally, cervical cancer screening and gynecologic cancer management in HIV positive persons.
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Dr. Ghebre’s global health work began with the Rwanda Human Resources for Health Program in 2014. She has since spent 3 years as in-country teaching faculty at the University of Rwanda, contributing to the training of obstetrics and gynecology students and residents, teaching advanced gynecology surgery and gynecologic oncology; collaborating on research; and helping to develop educational material to increase knowledge and awareness of cervical cancer screening and diagnosis. Dr. Ghebre is now partnering with the University of Rwanda to better manage and treat gynecologic oncology patients – with a particular focus on educational tools and systems. Dr. Ghebre has also been involved in capacity-building efforts in Ethiopia since 2014, where she helped to establish – and continues to support – two Gyn/Oncology Fellowship Programs in collaboration with Addis Ababa University, St. Paul's Millennium Medical College, the Ethiopian Ministry of Health, the International Gynecologic Cancer Society (IGCS), the University of Michigan, the German Society of GYN Oncology, and the University of Minnesota. Most recently, Dr. Ghebre's global efforts have expanded to include Botswana, where she is engaged in helping to strengthen both training and research initiatives.
Dr. Ghebre is an internationally recognized educator in gynecologic oncology and received the 2020 IGCS Award for Excellence in Teaching. She serves as chair for gynecologic oncology special interest group under the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer; and as a panel member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network’s Harmonized Guideline committee for sub-Saharan Africa, ASCO resource stratified guideline committee and member of the African Cancer Coalition, an initiative supported by the American Cancer Society. Dr. Ghebre leads the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center, Institute for Global Cancer Prevention Research Fellowship (IGCPR) program for Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC) of the African continent. IGCPR Fellowship program aims to support the success of early cancer prevention researchers in sub-Saharan Africa.
CHRISTY BORAAS, MD, MPH
Dr. Christy Boraas is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women’s Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She earned her master’s degree in epidemiology from the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, and her medical degree with honors from the University of Minnesota Medical School. She completed her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at The Ohio State University College of Medicine and went on to complete her fellowship in family planning at the Magee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh.
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Dr. Boraas's global health experience has led her to work as a public health consultant for many organizations in multiple countries: Thailand, El Salvador, Tanzania, Ecuador, and Ghana. Her global research and clinical interests include access and education in family planning and maternal health care, referral systems, and innovative solutions for safe cesarean birth. She has also developed global health curriculum for learners in the United States and in low-to-middle income countries. She currently practices obstetrics and gynecology with a focus on family planning in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
CRESTA JONES, MD, FACOG
Dr. Cresta Jones, MD, FACOG is an Associate Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She is a maternal-fetal medicine physician and also has board certification in addiction medicine. Her work focuses primarily on improving outcomes for pregnant and recently pregnant people who are affected by substance use disorders. Patients affected by substance use disorders(SUDs) in pregnancy experience significant discrimination and bias, limited access to care, and risk losing custody of their children if they experience either untreated SUDs in pregnancy or experience relapse.
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Dr. Jones partners with groups such as the Minnesota Section of ACOG, Minnesota chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, and is a founding member of the midwest perinatal substance use collaborative (SUPper Club). She also participates in advocacy at the state level to increase access to substance use disorder treatment during pregnancy and in the postpartum period. Recent successes include the removal of mandatory substance use reporting in pregnancy, and the extension of Medicaid coverage in the postpartum period here in Minnesota. Current research includes examining the biasis in urine toxicology screening in pregnancy, and she is a co-director of a weekly online perinatal substance use educational program through Hennepin Health.
SAMANTHA PACE, MD
Samantha Pace, MD completed her undergraduate and medical school education at the University of Minnesota, her Obstetrics & Gynecology residency at University of Chicago, and is currently practicing at Hennepin Healthcare. She has been committed to both global and local inequities since her undergraduate studies in philosophy and anthropology. She has worked in Haiti, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, Afghanistan, Tanzania, and most recently, Sierra Leone. She has special interests in cultural competency, medical education, and bioethics, and enjoys working with diverse patients at Hennepin Healthcare.
Leah Henke, MD
Dr. Leah Henke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Women's Health at the University of Minnesota Medical School. She completed both her medical degree and residency training in Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Minnesota. Her clinical interests include global women's health, advocacy for equitable care, minimally invasive surgery, integrative care and health education. Dr. Henke's research interests include projects partnering with colleagues in low-income countries, quality improvement and patient experience, and improving access to care and outcomes for immigrant and refugee women.
MELISSA SAFTNER, PhD, APRN, CNM, FACNM
Melissa A. Saftner, PhD, APRN, CNM, FACNM, is a Clinical Professor in the School of Nursing where she directs the nurse-midwifery program and adjunct clinical assistant professor in the Department of OBGYN. She is a member of the ACNM Division of Global Education Committee, is active in the Minnesota Affiliate of the American College of Nurse-Midwives, and is a site visitor for the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. Dr. Saftner’s research focus is on adolescent health issues, particularly global adolescent health. She partners with nurses and midwives at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda for collaborative research.
ANN FORSTER PAGE, DNP, APRN, CNM, FACNM
Ann Forster Page, DNP, APRN, CNM, FACNM is an Adjunct Clinical Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Forster Page is the nurse-midwife service director with University of Minnesota Physicians, and nurse-midwife director at Birthplace at UMMC, MHealth Fairview. She provides full scope nurse-midwifery care in an academic, university practice serving a diverse, and urban population.
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Dr. Forster Page is one of the leaders driving perinatal quality improvement and safety work throughout MHealth Fairview’s larger health care system. She holds an Adjunct Associate Professor appointment in the UMN Medical School as a part of the UMN Department of OB/GYN and Women’s Health and has helped drive innovative interprofessional educational experiences with midwifery students and OB residents at UMN. Dr. Forster Page has spent time teaching birth attendants in Haiti, helped lead a workshop on limiting blood loss and blood product use for midwives in Kabul, Afghanistan, and co-led a workshop teaching new midwifery faculty from Kabul University in partnership with Manipal College of Nursing, in Manipal, India. She has served in many roles within American College of Nurse-Midwives (ACNM) at both the local and national level, including ACNM Board of Directors and Reducing Primary Cesarean Project.