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MEET OUR TEAM

Kristiana Kaufmann, MD, MPH

Co-Director

Dr. Kristiana Kaufmann is director of the Global Health Section and the International EM Fellowship at the WSU Department of Emergency medicine.  She is also the co-director of the WSU Global Health Alliance and its Global and Urban Health Equity Scholars Program.  Dr. Kaufmann is the ACEP Ambassador to Lao PDR through her long standing work with Health Frontiers, including development and director of the new Lao EM residency training program.  She created the Urban Clinical First Encounters first aid training for incoming students in the WSU School of medicine and is faculty adviser for the First Aid First WSU student organization aimed at teaching first aid in the Detroit community.  Dr. Kaufmann is also the Eastern Michigan Region Medical Director for the National Ski Patrol and actively patrols as a Senior patroller at Alpine Valley Ski Patrol in White Lake, Michigan.   

Ijeoma Nnodim Opara, MD

Co-Director

Dr. Nnodim received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine (WSUSOM) and is a graduate of Detroit Medical Center (DMC)/WSUSOM Internal Medicine- Pediatrics combined residency program, after which she served as Chief Medical Resident. Currently, she is a double-board certified Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at WSUSOM, Associate Program Director of the Internal Medicine-Pediatrics residency, and attending physician with Wayne State University Physician Group.

She provides clinical care to a chiefly underserved population, supervises resident clinics, and teaches inpatient and ambulatory medicine. She mentors a number of residents and medical students in wellness, work-life balance, academic, and career development. Her areas of academic interests are in global health, medical education, and physician wellness. She imbues every endeavor with her philosophy of patient-centered, evidence-based, high value, compassionate care and prioritizes attention to social determinants of health, disparities, and equity as part of a comprehensive approach to patients.

She has a long history of leadership in service to the African immigrant and African American communities and co-founded Africans in Medicine, whose mission is to unite African medical professionals to further the health interests of Africans living on the continent and in the Diaspora. Winner of the 2017 “Most Engaged Physician” award given by the Detroit Medical Center, she was recognized for her excellent track record in community service, collaboration with colleagues, and advocacy. She received the “Faculty of the Year” award, given by the internal medicine-pediatrics residents to the faculty member who best embodies the aspects of great clinician educator, including mentorship, teaching, and humanism in medicine.

Lisa Allenspach, MD

Board of Directors

Dr. Lisa Allenspach, M.D. specializes in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Henry Ford Health Systems where she has practiced for the past 25 years and was a founding member of the Lung Transplant Program there.  She is a recognized leader in transplant medicine and now serves as the Medical Director of Lung Transplantation at Henry Ford Hospital.  Her interests in pulmonary medicine include end-stage lung disease including IPF, CF, and COPD.  She is recognized as an expert in new developments in immunosuppression and infections in the immunocompromised patient.  In addition Dr. Allenspach is passionate about Global Health delivery systems and has been a member of the Global Health Initiative Advisory Board at Henry Ford Hospital for the past 5 years.  She has sponsored many reciprocal medical education exchanges with Universite Quisqueya in Port-Au-Prince and has traveled to Haiti many times as a consultant, advising on implementation of medical training, and design of critical care services.  She is a member of the Wayne State Global Health Alliance Board and is committed to ongoing education of health care providers for sustainable development in resource limited settings.

Amy Cortis, MD

Board of Directors

Dr. Amy Cortis received her medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and completed her pediatrics residency and pediatric emergency medicine fellowship training at Children's Hospital of Michigan.  She is currently an assistant professor in the departments of pediatrics and emergency medicine at WSU.  Dr. Cortis's interest in global health started during medical school when she had the opportunity to spend six weeks in Hyderabad and Mysore, India through the Wayne State University School of Medicine World Health Student Organization.   During residency, Dr. Cortis completed a Pediatric Global Health Certificate which was a joint program sponsored by WSU and Children's Hospital of Michigan and involved an international exchange program in China.   Dr. Cortis is passionate about the health of children and their families globally and locally.  In addition, she has traveled to Haiti, Panama, and Nicaragua to mentor WSU SOM students.

Vijaya Arun Kumar, MD, MPH, DPH Board of Directors

Having completed his medical school and diploma in public health from India, Dr. Kumar worked in a rural health setting in India for nearly 2 years. It was during this time that he developed an interest in working for and among the rural population. In the US, he went on to complete a family medicine residency followed by a clinical research, emergency medicine fellowship and a master in public health. He has developed a focus in cardiovascular research in emergency medicine, has authored numerous publications and is the principal investigator for more than 10 clinical studies. Dr. Kumar is a member of the Institutional Review Board at Wayne State University (WSU), on the editorial board of Michigan Journal of Public Health and a manuscript reviewer for Annals of Emergency Medicine. His role in improving research and rural health in India has led him to have multiple leadership positions including the director of research at “Prana Health Center” and a board member of “Saviors Without Borders”. His global health interests include development of clinical research in resource limited settings, upliftment of women health in rural India and improvement of emergency medicine in low and middle-income countries. He is presently the associate director of the International Emergency Medicine Fellowship at WSU and the chair of the research committee at the Global Health Alliance- WSU. 

Jamey Snell, MD

Board of Directors

Dr. Jamey Snell is a Louisiana native and a graduate of  Florida A&M University and Harvard Medical School.  An interest in global health was prompted by professor and global health leader, Dr. Paul Farmer, who emphasized the social roots of health and disease, and opened up opportunities to volunteer with the World Health Organization and Ugandan Ministry of Health for the roll-out of a national HIV treatment plan, studying international academic partnerships at Bugando University in Tanzania, and studying pediatric peer support groups with chronic diseases in rural Costa Rica. While in anesthesia residency at New York University, he served as chief resident and was awarded a one-month teaching fellowship by the Society for Education in Anesthesia to serve as anesthesia faculty at Addis Abba University in Ethiopia. Following residency, he pursued a two-year fellowship program in pediatric anesthesia and global health at Boston Children’s Hospital. This provided access to participate in a ground-breaking model for international collaboration in medical education and health-system scale up through the “Human Resources for Health” program in Rwanda. As part of the anesthesia teaching faculty at the University of Rwanda for half a year, his experience from the other side of the global health exchange further galvanized his belief that the traditional models of medical and surgical missions carry the potential for unforeseen consequences and collateral damage to the very people they seek to serve. Most recently he has relocated to Detroit to follow his wife Dr. Brittany Carter-Snell back to her hometown and has joined the anesthesia department at the Children’s Hospital of Michigan. He now serves as a staff pediatric anesthesiologist and the Director of Sedation Services at CHM and at the WSU School of Medicine.
 

Jeffrey Van Laere, MD

Board of Directors

Dr. Jeffrey Van Laere is an Emergency Physician who works with the Global Health Alliance in an effort to improve access to acute healthcare delivery globally. His current interests include community health indicator surveillance, methods for improving community triage and early access to care, and capacity development for evidence-based decision making. He enjoys spending time with his wife, new baby, and two dogs.