Staff and Volunteers

Paul Guggenheim | Executive Director

Paul's passion for community development and environmental health has led him to work with diverse organizations, communities, and partners all across Latin America. From 2007 to 2012, Paul was the Country Director for Riecken Community Libraries in Guatemala, establishing and supporting a network of community-owned lending libraries providing access to information in rural Central America. Previously, through The Field Museum in Chicago, he led conservation education initiatives in schools and communities in the 10,000 square mile buffer zone surrounding Peru’s Cordillera Azul National Park in the Amazon. Paul also served with Casa Alianza in Managua, Nicaragua as a Street Educator for at-risk youth, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras, supporting construction of gravity-flow water systems, training community boards, and promoting watershed protection. He has worked on community public health projects with Amigos de la Americas in Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador, Honduras and Nicaragua, and consulted for Children International in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and the Philippines. Paul also worked in wetlands and watershed protection for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service based in Washington, DC. Paul holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology from Ithaca College and a Master’s in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University.

Janelle Bitikofer | Clinical Programs Director

Janelle is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and Teaching English as a Second Language from Eastern Mennonite University, and her Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2001. During her social work career, Janelle has worked in psychiatric hospitals, crisis centers, substance abuse programs, adoption and foster care agencies, and homeless support programs, where she has provided direct clinical services in addition to supervising and training clinical staff. She served as a clinical disaster responder during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and during the North Carolina tornadoes of 2011. Janelle is a member of the Network of Spanish-Speaking Therapists of Raleigh, NC, and a trained volunteer with the American Red Cross. As a teacher of English as a Second Language, she has taught adults from 18 different language groups in migrant farm kitchens, chicken factories, literacy programs, language schools, and living rooms. She has served on committees resettling refugees from Congo, Albania, and Iran, and helped support refugee children in Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Janelle is passionate about promoting understanding between cultures, and about helping people and communities to utilize and build upon the strengths that they already possess within themselves.

Elizabeth Geier | Public Health Director

Elizabeth has been managing programs in the field of international public health for the past six years. Her career in global health began working together with refugee populations to improve community health on the Thai-Burma border in two refugee camps as the Community Health Coordinator for the American Refugee Committee. She then went on to work for CARE International in Timor-Leste where she began as the Project Manager for a nationwide malaria project and then later became the Health Program Manager, managing various projects that supported government efforts to roll out satellite health posts for rural communities affected by war and unrest and to improve the health system’s response to childhood malnutrition. Most recently, she led a project setting up community nutrition centers for indigenous populations of the high Andes Mountains of Peru, working with Future Generations piloting a new strategy for monitoring childhood growth together with rural communities. These experiences of leading programs that strive to defend the right to health for people and communities have shaped her career. Elizabeth’s work has focused on community-led approaches to improving health as well as health system strengthening in the areas of disease prevention, behavior change and health promotion, monitoring and evaluation and improved engagement between government health systems and communities. She has a Masters of Science in International Public Health from the TropED program (a combined degree from Humboldt University, Heidelberg University, The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and The Royal Tropical Institute in Amsterdam).

Marinelli Gutierrez, Logistics Coordinator

Marinelli is the HHI Logistics Coordinator. She graduated from Pontifica Universidad Catolica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic with a degree in Executive Secretary. She has experience includes work as an Accounting Administrative Assistant in both lawyers’ and general offices. Those most in need, especially children, compel her to serve most. Her hobbies include watching cultural TV programs and listening to romantic music.

Haley Burns | Administrative Director

Haley is the Administrative Director of HHI, and helps coordinate state-side logistics for the Medical Service Trips. She graduated summa cum laude from University of Hartford with a Bachelor's Degree in English Literature. In the years since her graduation, she has worked in administrative and operational capacities for both for-profit and non-profit organizations. When she's not singing with her choirs or crafting, she enjoys spending time with her husband, two cats, and five chickens at their home in Connecticut.