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Staff

Kelly Ballard, Program Administrative Assistant

Kelly Ballard

Kelly provides administrative support to the Program Department by maintaining program files, coordinating travel and managing financial aspects of the project reporting. While doing all that, she still manages her roles as mother of three and pastor’s wife. Kelly is a huge fan of Disney World and has visited Mickey… Read More

Nikki Brown, International Programs Officer

Nikki Brown, Program Development Manager


Nikki guides program management including development, planning, monitoring and evaluation. She interacts with a wide range of non-governmental organizations and international partner agencies, as well as facilitating government grants. Nikki came to American Leprosy Missions from the agency world, where she worked with major corporations throughout the Southeast on public relations… Read More

Beverly Elmore, Director of Finance

Beverly Elmore, Director of Finance

Beverly joined American Leprosy Missions 17 years ago. During this time, she has worked in all areas of the finance department. Beverly is responsible for all financial records as well as the cash management and operating budget. She also coordinates employee benefits including insurance, retirement plans, HSA accounts and workers’… Read More

Gary Fischer, Chief Development Officer

Gary Fischer, Chief Development Officer

Gary leads and oversees the development team, sharing his expertise in non-profits, fundraising, communications, marketing and organizational management. He came to American Leprosy Missions with 30 years of experience from both the private sector and non-profit worlds,including Douglas Shaw & Associates, Questscope, the Alzheimer’s Association and Prison Fellowship. He earned… Read More

Larae Harvey, Development Process and 
Analysis Manager

Larae Harvey, Development Process and 
Analysis Manager

Larae manages American Leprosy Missions’ national direct mail program to more than 30,000 individual donors. She worked with Christian Blind Mission for 12 years as direct response marketing manager. Most recently, Larae worked as the director of donor relations for Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County where she implemented fundraising… Read More

Sarah Hesshaus, M.A., Communications Director

Sarah Hesshaus, M.A., Communications Manager


Sarah manages marketing, public relations and communications strategy. She seeks to raise the profile of American Leprosy Missions and to inspire people to support its mission. From an international healthcare consulting firm to a science museum and several construction management companies, Sarah has successfully promoted both for-profit and non-profit organizations… Read More

Rhonda Holden, Data Analysis Coordinator

Rhonda Holden, Data Analysis Coordinator

Rhonda works in the development department on data processing and analysis. She has more than 15 years of experience in non-profit information technology and development data management support. Before joining American Leprosy Missions, Rhonda served as the Director of Information Systems and Technology for American Red Cross, where she lead the… Read More

Kristin Knowles, M.B.A., Finance Specialist

Kristin Knowles, M.B.A., Finance Specialist

Kristin uses her bookkeeping and accounting skills to assist the Director of Finance by processing accounts payable, making daily deposits of donations, reconciling bank accounts, and seeing that business expenses are substantiated with receipts. Prior to joining American Leprosy Missions, Kristin worked with several other non-profit organizations which allowed her… Read More

Julia Koepke, Production Manager

Julia Koepke, Fundraising Coordinator


Julia oversees all the complex production processes for direct response projects and special events. She also assists with online communications and resource management. Prior to joining American Leprosy Missions, Julia worked as a marketing and development intern at a non-profit specializing in social services. She graduated with honors from Trinity Christian College… Read More

Christina Miller-Colton, Senior Donor Relationship Officer


Christina Miller-Colton, Senior Donor Relationship Officer


Christina is responsible for fostering relationships with major donors and producing high-impact events. She has traveled to both India and Nepal to see projects firsthand. Prior to joining American Leprosy Missions, Christina worked in Washington, D.C. as a fundraiser and event planner for a host of non-profits, associations, corporate clients… Read More

Jim Oehrig, M.A., Chief Program Officer

Jim Oehrig, M.A., Chief Program Officer

Jim oversees the selection, monitoring and evaluation of our partners, programs and projects around the world as well as inter-organizational coordination, member care of field staff, and cooperation with the development and finance teams. He graduated from Houghton College with a B.A. and received a M.A. in Latin American studies… Read More

Jessica Pate, Executive Assistant to the President and CEO

Jessica Pate, Executive Assistant to the CEO

Jessica Pate’s mission is to make the CEO as efficient and effective as possible. She assists with communication and scheduling, coordinates logistics for travel and events, serves as liaison to the board of directors, assists with HR matters and financial reporting, and generally helps turn Bill’s great ideas into reality…. Read More

Darren Schaupp, M.A., Director of Program Operations

Darren Schaupp, M.A., Director of Program Operations

Darren provides strategic oversight of day-to-day operations and management of projects around the world. Previously he led Samaritan’s Purse’s work in Ethiopia, orchestrated emergency famine relief in East Africa and developed global field management guidelines. His non-profit experience also includes six years in Kenya as a Program Director and Regional… Read More

Bekah Schwanbeck, Assistant Manager, Events and Donor Relationships

Bekah Schwanbeck, Assistant Manager, Donor Relationships

Bekah is responsible for coordinating volunteers for support services and special events as well as raising awareness about American Leprosy Missions in the local community. She graduated from Jacksonville State University with a B.A. in Sociology and Broadcast Communications. Although she grew up in the South, she spent the last few years in… Read More

Linda Sholtis, Program Development Officer

Linda Sholtis, Grants Manager

Linda communicates and implements best practices in the administration of grant funding with partners and projects worldwide. She also enhances collaborative efforts with a range of organizations, from the United Nations and ministries of health to faith-based organizations. Before joining American Leprosy Missions, she held the position of personnel manager… Read More

Bill Simmons, President and CEO

Bill Simmons, President and CEO

Bill is passionate about the mission of American Leprosy Missions. He sets the pace of the organization, helping to maximize the team’s potential. He brings more than twenty years of management experience to his role having served as President and CEO of two nationwide, Christian, retail chains. Born in Tennessee,… Read More

Gwen Smith, Data Specialist

Gwen Smith, Administrative Assistant

Gwen provides key support to the development process and data analysis manager. She is responsible for data entry and ensuring donor information and preferences are current. Before joining American Leprosy Missions, Gwen spent a year as a member of AmeriCorps, the domestic equivalent of the Peace Corps. As part of… Read More

Field Staff

Robert Bowers, OTR, M.S., Missionary and CBR Specialist, Bangladesh


Robert Bowers, OTR, M.S., Missionary and CBR Specialist, Bangladesh


Since 2001, Bob, an occupational therapist, has served as an advisor, mentor and trainer to staff in projects throughout Bangladesh. He works directly with leprosy-affected individuals and is constantly looking for ways to improve projects and help with community-based rehabilitation programs. Bob has an enthusiasm for sharing the Gospel through… Read More

Ma. Gemma C. Cabanos, M.D., M.P.H., Regional Liaison for Western Pacific Region


Ma. Gemma C. Cabanos, M.D., M.P.H., Regional Liaison for Western Pacific Region


Gemma is seconded to the World Health Organization (WHO) Western Pacific Regional Office as a Medical Officer. In this role, she acts as a regional focal point for leprosy, coordinates with WHO country staff, and supports leprosy reporting, case-finding, training and stigma reduction. Before joining the staff of American Leprosy… Read More

Hugh Cross, BSc (pod), Ph.D., Program Director – Asia

Hugh Cross, BSc (pod), Ph.D., Program Director, Asia

Previously based in the Philippines, Hugh and his wife now live in Nepal. He provides support to American Leprosy Missions partners and projects around the world, but primarily in Asia. He is a member of the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) Technical Commission and a United Kingdom-trained podiatrist. Prior… Read More

Deanna Hagge, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Nepal


Deanna Hagge, Ph.D., Research Scientist, Nepal


Deanna works as the Head of Labs at Anandaban Hospital and is in charge of overseeing all leprosy research activities. Deanna performed her graduate and post-doctoral training at the National Hansen’s Disease Program based in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. She currently oversees Tribhuvan University MSC students working on their thesis projects… Read More

Jacques Kongawi, M.D., Country Representative, DR Congo


Jacques Kongawi, M.D., Country Representative, DR Congo


Jacques oversees American Leprosy Missions’ leprosy and Buruli ulcer control programs in DRC and is a liaison with the Ministry of Health. He was the 2009 recipient of the prestigious Damien-Dutton Award, given to an outstanding individual who has made a significant contribution to the elimination of leprosy. Jacques enjoys… Read More

Linda Lehman, OTR/L, M.P.H., C. Ped., Senior Advisor for Morbidity Management & Disability Prevention

Linda Lehman, OTR, M.P.H., C. Ped., Technical Director, Programs


Linda began her work with American Leprosy Missions in 1984 and has never looked back. An internationally recognized occupational therapist, Linda’s passion is prevention of disability (POD), community-based rehabilitation (CBR) and field-based training. She works with partners focused on leprosy and Buruli ulcer around the world. Based in Brazil, Linda… Read More

Paul Saunderson, M.D., MRCP, Medical/Research Director, Norway

Paul Saunderson, M.D., MRCP, Medical/Research Director, Norway

Paul received his medical degree from Cambridge University and has been involved in leprosy work since 1981. He directs all research-related initiatives for American Leprosy Missions and spends much of his time traveling and evaluating projects. Paul serves on several World Health Organization (WHO) advisory and technical committees and is… Read More

Tin Shwe, M.D., Country Representative, Myanmar


Tin Shwe, M.D., Country Representative, Myanmar


Tin Shwe has been with American Leprosy Missions since 2000 and is involved in all aspects of the leprosy work in Myanmar. He serves as International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) liaison officer and provides counsel to the World Health Organization (WHO). Tin Shwe has been working with Myanmar’s national… Read More

Emmy van der Grinten, M.D., Program Director – Africa

Emmy van der Grinten, M.D., Technical Consultant – Africa

Emmy focuses on strategy and organizational development, program design, and monitoring and evaluation while guiding the implementation of the End Buruli Now initiative. She received her medical degree from the University of Limburg, Maastricht in the Netherlands, after which she specialized in tropical medicine. For more than 14 years, Emmy… Read More

Technical Consultants

Mary Jo Geyer, PT, Ph.D., C.Ped., Technical Advisor for Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention

Mary Jo Geyer, PT, Ph.D., C.Ped., Technical Advisor for Morbidity Management and Disability Prevention

Dr. Geyer aims to improve limb care, preserve mobility and prevent disability in limited-resource environments. She has taught and practiced for many years as a physical therapist, pedorthist and board-certified specialist in wound and lymphedema management. For many years, Dr. Geyer was co-director of one of the first outpatient cardiovascular… Read More