Our Team

Asia Russell
, Executive Director


Asia has been a leader in the fight against HIV for over 20 years, first as a community organizer and treatment activist in Philadelphia, and ultimately as part of the group who founded Health GAP in 1999, serving as our Director of International Policy until 2014. Asia is a 2008 recipient of the Keith Cylar Courage Award from Housing Works, the 2010 Kiyoshi Kuromiya Award from Philadelphia FIGHT, the 2011 John M. Lloyd Leadership Award, and an award in 2011 from The AIDS Service Organization (TASO), Uganda for her exceptional contribution as an AIDS activist. As Executive Director, Asia is responsible for strengthening and expanding Health GAP’s programmatic work, including in East and Southern Africa, while continuing to lead international policy campaigns that secure real change for communities. She is currently based in Kampala, Uganda, where she works with a coalition of local human rights, HIV, sexual and reproductive health and rights, LGBTI organizations and other allies to win bold action by the Ugandan and donor governments on AIDS and health funding and policies, fight homophobic and stigmatizing laws, and to build the capacity of activist and other civil society networks. 


Jamila Headley, Managing Director


Jamila is a longtime ally and former core member of Health GAP. Before joining our team, Jamila served as a Program Officer for the Accountability and Monitoring in Health Initiative and the Global Health Financing Initiative of the Public Health Program at Open Society Foundations (OSF). At OSF, she helped to lead the development of several new bodies of grant-making focused on strengthening civil society engagement in the development, implementation, and monitoring of national and donor governments’ health budgets. Jamila has a PhD in Public Health from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar. She has written and conducted research on the development of national and regional responses to the HIV epidemic in Barbados and the Caribbean, the impact of trade agreements on health policy and access to medicines, and the role of North-South civil society partnerships in influencing the policies and priorities of large global health donors. Jamila is a 2006 recipient of the Vermont State Madeline Kunin Public Service Award for her commitment to social justice. Originally from the island of Barbados, Jamila is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she manages Health GAP’s organizational and financial matters, while bringing her unique blend of knowledge and experience to key areas of our programmatic work.


Brittany Herrick, Program Coordinator


Brittany is an emerging global health activist and recent graduate from New York University's Global Institute of Public Health. While completing her graduate studies, she served as a research assistant for an NIH-funded longitudinal study investigating behavioral risk factors for HIV as well as a National Preparedness intern for FEMA with the US Department of Homeland Security. Prior to joining Health GAP, she evaluated service-delivery models in community-based HIV/AIDS organizations in London, and collaborated with UNICEF to design a campaign aimed at improving polio vaccine procurement and distribution in Ukraine. She brings to the Health GAP team a broad knowledge of public health and a passion for social justice. In her role, she serves as critical organizational glue—working daily to ensure that our campaigns and programs are supported to achieve the greatest possible impact. Brittany holds a Master's in Public Health from New York University and a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Health Science from California State University Fullerton, where she conducted research as a McNair Scholar. In addition to her duties at Health GAP, Brittany serves on the Young Adult Advisory Board for the New York State Department of Health's AIDS Institute, helping to develop implementation strategies to end the statewide epidemic.


Brook Baker, Senior Policy Analyst


Brook is actively engaged in campaigns for universal access to treatment, prevention, and care for people living with HIV/AIDS, especially expanded and improved medical treatment.  He has worked with Health GAP since 2001 and was a founder of the Boston Global Action Network Africa-AIDS Project.  He has written, consulted, and campaigned extensively on intellectual property rights, trade, and access to medicines, including with the African Union, SADC, ASEAN, Venezuela, CARICOM, Thailand, UK DfID, the World Health Organization, the Millennium Development Goals Project, the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Open Society Institute, UNDP, UNITAID, the Medicines Patent Pool, the Global Commission on HIV and the Law, and others. He works on policy issues concerning the Global Fund and the US PEPFAR Program, and how those priority disease initiatives might contribute more broadly to improving healthcare delivery in developing countries. Similarly, he works on issues involving human resources for health and health system strengthening and is a member of the steering committee of the Health Workforce Advocacy Initiative and active in the Global Health Workforce Alliance. Finally, he analyzes resource needs for global health, innovative financing mechanisms, and IMF macroeconomic policies that restrict increased government and donor spending on health and education in developing countries.  Brook is tenured at Northeastern University School of Law where he teaches a seminar on Global AIDS Policy and another on Disability Law and is affiliated with its Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy.  Brook co-teaches an intensive two-week IPR and access to medicines course each year at the University of KwaZulu Natal where he is an Honorary Research Fellow.  He has taught and consulted extensively in South Africa over the past 15 years, having spent two years in-country during that time period. Brook is a board member for UNITAID. 


Emily Sanderson, National Organizer, U.S. (Student Global AIDS Campaign)


Emily is a recent graduate of Saint Michael’s College Political Science Department with a minor in global studies. Before joining the Health GAP team, she was a senior coordinator and organizer with Student Labor Action Movement (SLAM), a student group striving for a better relationship between workers and students and promoting worker empowerment. She later became involved with Student Global AIDS Campaign (SGAC), where she further developed her skills as an organizer and formed a relationship with Health GAP. As the national organizer, she works closely with students, SGAC, Positive Youth Network (PYN), and other groups of people living with HIV/AIDS to create and maintain strong, working grassroots capacity across the country. She also serves on the Young Adult Advisory Board for the New York State Department's AIDS Institute, helping to design implementation strategies to end the statewide epidemic.



Hilary McQuie, Director of U.S. Policy & Grassroots Mobilization


Hilary is a longtime activist for health, equity and social justice, who has been working in the field of health rights since co-founding one of the first needle exchange programs in San Francisco. Most recently, she worked as Senior Program Analyst in HIV, STIs, and Viral Hepatitis for the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO). Between 2006 and 2014, Hilary directed the California office of the Harm Reduction Coalition (HRC), where she led a federal policy and grassroots campaign that led to the removal of the 20-year congressional ban on use of federal funds for needle exchange programs from 2009-2011, and took a number of harm reduction state legislative campaigns from drafting to passage. As the first Policy Director of Americans for Safe Access, she helped create the largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research, and led high-impact advocacy. Hilary has conducted research and worked in Brazil, Portugal, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe. She brings to the Health GAP team a wealth of experience in grassroots training and capacity building on a range of issues, including nonviolent direct action, community organizing, and media skills. Hilary has a Master's degree in Medical Geography from University of Washington in Seattle.

Jessica Bassett, Director of Communications


For the last ten years, Jessica has worked in strategic communications and government relations, including serving as the primary spokesperson for then-New York State Governor David Paterson, and doing advance work for First Lady Michelle Obama, President Bill Clinton and Secretary Hillary Clinton. She most recently spent 4 years at SKDKnickerbocker, a progressive strategic communications firm, where she was a Vice President in the Albany office. At SKDK, Jessica developed and implemented strategic communications campaigns ranging from crisis communications to issue advocacy for political candidates, non-profit, labor and corporate clients. Jessica was a founding member of the SGAC chapter at Saint Michael’s College, where she was deeply involved in bird dogging presidential candidates during the 2004 cycle. She also studied the intersection of development, health and society in Nairobi and coordinated literacy programs as an AmeriCorps*VISTA at the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program. In her role at Health GAP, Jessica works to advance the organization’s campaign goals through a coordinated communications strategy. 


Matthew Kavanagh, Senior Policy Analyst


For the last dozen years Matt has led trans-national policy campaigns in the U.S. and worked in Southern Africa, focused on access to HIV treatment, international trade, financial industry regulation, and water rights. He has drafted legislation introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives; presented before the U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Right to Health, members of the House Ways and Means Committee, and the U.S. Trade Representative; worked on PEPFAR reauthorization and helped lead Health GAP’s successful campaign to secure HIV treatment for over six million people. Matthew’s writing has appeared in Foreign Policy in Focus and Health Affairs and he blogs regularly at The Huffington Post. He has been interviewed in outlets ranging from the New York Times and Wall Street Journal to the BBC and Al Jazeera. He was listed in the POZ 100 in 2012 as one of the most effective AIDS activists. Matthew received his BA in political science from Vassar College and a Masters in community organizing and education from Harvard University and is currently a Benjamin Franklin Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.


Maureen Milanga, Senior Campaigner, East Africa


Maureen is a Health GAP/AIDS Law Project Fellow working in Kenya to influence the region by campaigning to win increased access to treatment, improve outdated HIV treatment policies and mobilize civil society to demand game changing new generic AIDS drugs faster. She collaborated with other organizations in Kenya to gather recommendations from people living with HIV to create the "PLHIV Manifesto" – a document she used to urge presidential candidates in Kenya to roll out AIDS treatment and healthcare for all Kenyans. Maureen worked with partners to successfully free up hundreds of millions in U.S. funding that had been stuck in PEPFAR's "pipeline" to introduce lifelong ART for all pregnant women in Kenya and she continues to work to increase civil society involvement to more effectively make demands of the Government of Kenya, PEPFAR, and the Global Fund in order to scaleup of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in Kenya. Maureen's background is in law and human rights, and brings to Health GAP her experience at a private law firm as well as with NGOs working to provide legal services to widows and orphans living in IDP camps displaced by election-related violence. She was an AVAC 2013 fellow working with AIDS Law Project and Health GAP and was listed in POZ 100 magazine as one of the most effective AIDS activist of 2014. 


Melanie Castillo, Intern


Melanie is a current student at Saint Michael’s College studying Business Administration and Studio Art. As a trained sculptor, she uses art to navigate the complexities of identity and speak out on the injustices that plague our society. She is a student leader and organizer with the Martin Luther King Jr. Society, a group dedicated to reaching across social barriers to create a more just and humane campus, nation and global community. In addition to her local involvement with grassroots movements such as Black Lives Matter Burlington, Melanie strongly believes in the transformative power of youth and spends much of her time advocating and empowering students of color





Board of Directors


T. Richard Corcoran, Chair (NYC, USA): T. Richard is the President of Alouette Inc., a marketing engineering company based in Brooklyn, New York. He previously represented Health GAP on the Programme Coordinating Board of UNAIDS and has volunteered with Health GAP for over 17 years. He is living with HIV and eternally grateful for the activists that saved his life.

Eustacia Smith, Secretary (NYC, USA): Staci is Program Director of the Ben Michalski Residence, providing supportive housing for formerly homeless people living with AIDS in NYC. She is a founding member of Health GAP, member of ACT UP NY, and former member of Fed Up Queers. 

Aaron BoyleTreasurer (NYC, USA): Aaron is Senior School Developer at Eskolta School Research and Design, Inc. in Brooklyn, NY, member of ACT UP NY, and a former Peace Corps volunteer. 

Alice Kayongo (Kampala, Uganda): Alice is an HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor to Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) France working in Uganda. She has worked with community based organizations in Kampala such as UCOBAC.

Amanda Lugg (NYC, USA): Amanda is the Director of Advocacy or African Services Committee in Harlem, NYC. She is also a board member of Queers for Economic Justice. 

Asia Russell (Kampala, Uganda): Ex-officio, Asia is the Executive Director of Health GAP.

Brook Baker (Boston, MA, USA) Brook is a Professor of Law at Northeastern University and Health GAP's Senior Policy Analyst. 

Graziela Tanaka (Sao Paolo, Brazil): Graziela is the Director of Mobilization at Idec - Instituto Brasileiro de Defesa do Consumidor. She was the Brazil campaigner for Avaaz.org and has been a community organizer for the NYC AIDS Housing Network. 

Jamila Headley (NYC, USA): Ex-officio, Jamila is the Managing Director of Health GAP.

Jennifer Flynn (NYC, USA): Jennifer was a founder of VOCAL-NY and served as Executive Director for 10 years. She also served as Managing Director of Health GAP from 2007-2014 and now serves as an active consultant.

Rob Weissman (Washington, DC, USA): Rob is the President of Public Citizen. He is the former director of Essential Action and the editor of Multinational Monitor. Rob was previously an attorney with the Center for Responsive Law. 

Sharonann Lynch (NYC, USA): Sharonann was an original staff member of Health GAP and is currently an HIV/AIDS Policy Advisor for Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).  


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