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Refugee Women's Health Clinic

Our Team

  • Dean Coonrod, MD, MPH, FACOG
    Chairman, Department of OB/GYN, Maricopa Integrated Health System

    Dr. Coonrod is the Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix, Arizona and is an Associate Professor at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine. Dr. Coonrod received his undergraduate degree at Seattle Pacific University and then pursued a medical degree and master’s degree in public health at the University of Washington. Dr. Coonrod completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology in Arizona where he actively practices as a clinician, researcher, educator, and advocate to victims of domestic violence (DV) through his community health work. Dr. Coonrod’s longstanding commitment to public health in the Maricopa County community is evidenced by his leadership in public programs and funded grants. Several of these key leadership roles include: (1) Medical Director for the Well Woman Healthcheck Program, (2) Member of the Phoenix Domestic Violence Fatality Review Team, (3) Principal Investigator on a grant which launched a hospital-wide domestic violence advocacy program, (4) Principal Investigator on a March of Dimes grant to create an internatal clinic which provides care for women between pregnancies who have experienced an adverse pregnancy outcome, and (5) Investigator on the Family Sanas Grant to improve compliance with the post partum visit.

  • Crista Johnson-Agbakwu, MD, MSc, FACOG
    Founder/Director of Refugee Clinic

    Dr. Crista Johnson-Agbakwu is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Maricopa Integrated Health System, Phoenix, AZ, where she is Founder and Director of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC). She is also a Research Assistant Professor of the Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC), which is a National Institutes of Health funded National Center of Excellence in minority health and health disparities at Arizona State University.

    She received her undergraduate degree from The Johns Hopkins University, medical degree from the Weill Medical College of Cornell University, and completed her residency in Obstetrics & Gynecology at the George Washington University Medical Center. She subsequently completed a fellowship in Female Sexual Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and then became a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Michigan where she obtained her Masters in Health and Health Care Research examining disparities in reproductive health care among refugees/immigrants through mixed-method Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).

    She has presented nationally and internationally on refugee women’s health, and the challenges faced by health care providers in the care of women with Female Genital Cutting (FGC). She is a Fellow of the International Society for the Study of Women’s Sexual Health (ISSWSH) where she also serves as Chair of Online Services.

    Her current research incorporates CBPR to address health disparities among refugee women across many facets of health including women’s reproductive, preventive, sexual, and mental health. Through the RWHC, she has implemented a best practice model of care that is improving health care access and utilization, health literacy, community engagement, and health care provider cultural competency towards improved health outcomes for refugee women.

  • Jeanne F. Nizigiyimana, MA, MSW
    Program Manager and Co-founder of Refugee Clinic

    Jeanne F. Nizigiyimana is the Program Manager and co-founder of the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC) at Maricopa Integrated Health System in Phoenix, AZ where she also chairs the Refugee Women’s Health Community Advisory Coalition (RWHCAC). While providing community culturally-grounded health education, her work involves the duties of a community partner for research activities that are co-designed and co-implemented by an interdisciplinary, multicultural staff, volunteers and community members. Originally from Burundi, Ms. Nizigiyimana holds several undergraduate degrees, speaks six different languages, and earned her Masters of Social Work degree from Arizona State University (ASU) in May 2005. She began her career in 1999 as a case manager with Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement, served as Program Coordinator for the Strengthening Families Project, Adjustment Services Program Supervisor, and as the Director of Phoenix Family Programs for BRYCS. In 1999, she co-founded Refugee Women United for Progress, Inc. As well, she serves on various boards including the ASU Southwest Interdisciplinary Research Center (SIRC) Community Advisory Board, ASU-College of Nursing and Health and Innovation Community and Burundi-Arizona Heritage Organization (BAHO) Advisory Board. She has received numerous awards including the ASU-SIRC Community Leadership Award in Eliminating Health Disparities.

  • Lisa Stahr is a Nurse and Midwife at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic. She has always had a passion for global health. She has traveled and worked extensively in the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia and Russia as both a consultant and volunteer. Lisa served as a Peace Corps volunteer on the island of Pemba in East Africa. She spent additional time in the region serving as a mid-wife. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Certified Nurse-Midwife degrees from the University of San Francisco and a MPH with emphasis in International and Maternal/Child Health from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She is committed to helping refugees achieve optimal health and self-sufficiency. Lisa speaks Swahili.

  • Owliya Abdalla
    Cultural Health Navigator

    Owliya Abdalla is a Cultural Health Navigator at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC). Owliya is a refugee from Somalia and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp for 12 years. During this time, she became passionate about health and education. In turn, she served as a Hygiene Promotion Assistant in the camp for two years. Upon coming to the U.S., Owliya pursued her passion of health studies and serving refugees. She became very active in the Somali Bantu United Association of Greater Phoenix and volunteered with the RWHC. She received her Medical Assistance Certification from CollegeAmerica and completed her externship at Maricopa Medical Center. Owliya is available for patients around the clock and is committed to educating and helping her community on how to navigate the U.S. healthcare system. She speaks Somali and Maay Maay.

  • Asheraka K. Boru
    Medical Assistant

    Asheraka K. Boru is a Medical Assistant at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC). Asheraka is from Ethiopia and has several years of healthcare experience and understands the struggle of settling in a new country and overcoming language and cultural barriers. Prior to joining the RWHC, she served as a Home Care Giver at the Arizona Training and Evaluation Center. Asheraka received her Medical Assistance Certification from the Seattle Vocational Institute. She is deeply passionate about providing the best service for refugee families. She speaks Oromo.

  • Daisy Taknan
    Cultural Health Navigator

    Daisy Taknan is a Cultural Health Navigator at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC).  Daisy is from Burma and has several years of domestic and international experience. Since coming to Phoenix nearly six years ago, Daisy has been very involved with the Burmese community, helping with interpretation and leading women’s health education efforts.  Prior to joining the RWHC, Daisy served as a Research Assistant for the Anasazi Foundation and as an Internal Medical Liaison Coordinator at the Arizona Medical Clinic.  She has international experience working at the World Vision in Myanmar and within the banking and technology sectors.  Daisy has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics and Associate of Science in Civil Engineering Technology from Mandalay University in Burma as well as a Bachelor of Religious Education from Myanmar Theological College.  She is passionate about helping the Burmese community receive the best care possible. “I recommend this clinic for my people because RWHC has proficiency serving different countries and you can’t find that elsewhere,” she says. Daisy speaks Burmese and Chin.

  • Liliane Ferdinand
    Cultural Health Navigator

    Liliane Ferdinand is a Cultural Health Navigator at the Refugee Women's Health Clinic (RWHC).  She has extensive experience living and working internationally, in addition to specific experience serving refugee communities. Originally from Rwanda, she has lived in six countries. Prior to coming to the U.S., Liliane volunteered with the U.N. World Food Programme in refugee camps in Tanzania.  Prior to joining the RWHC, she worked for more than a decade in the healthcare industry and also as an interpreter for the International Rescue Committee in Arizona. Liliane brings deep compassion for refugee women and their families and shows an unwavering commitment to helping them overcome the challenges of settling in a new culture and navigating the U.S. healthcare system. She speaks French, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi and Swahili.

  • Nahida AlAni
    Cultural Health Navigator

    Nahida AlAni is a Cultural Health Navigator at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic (RWHC).  She is from Iraq and worked for several years in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., as a High School English language teacher which enables her to effectively lead in multicultural environments.  Upon coming to the U.S. three years ago, she joined the Iraqi Community as a volunteer to help refugees overcome language and cultural barriers. From there she joined the RWHC as a volunteer and shortly became a staff member.  For Nahida, the RWHC is not only a job - it’s a mission.  She strives to ensure that each patient not only receives great healthcare but that they are connected to other resources and opportunities. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Baghdad. Nahida speaks Arabic.

  • Rachel Mendoza
    Community Health Program Coordinator

    Rachel Mendoza is the Community Health Outreach Coordinator at the Refugee Women’s Health Clinic. Her role requires her to oversee capacity building, volunteer mobilization, and community outreach. This is currently her first year of service at the clinic through AmeriCorps Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Prior to her service year, Rachel graduated from Barrett, the Honors College at Arizona State University with a degree in Biological Sciences (Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior) with a minor in Women & Gender Studies. In the future, Rachel hopes to attend medical school and continue to serve the refugee population as a physician.

  • Lea Witzel
    Adjunct Research Associate

    Lea Witzel is an Adjunct Research Associate at the Refugee Women's Health Clinic. She recently graduated from Barrett, The Honors College at ASU this past May with a degree in Biology. Lea collects, inputs, and analyzes data regarding trends in mental health and patient education. She is currently considering starting a Master's in Public Health program before attending medical school. 

  • Lauren Bacon
    Adjunct Research Associate

    Following her graduation from Barrett at ASU in English Linguistics, Philosophy, and Italian in May 2016, Lauren spent the last year both living and working in Beijing, China. With meaningful experience with various refugee populations both abroad and through the Somali-American United Council here in Phoenix, she is thrilled to join our team as an adjunct research associate prior to her move to Beirut, Lebanon to pursue community development work. Lauren plans to attend law school in the fall of 2019 so that she may eventually co-create systemic change within the realms of both refugee mental healthcare and global development that is inclusive, sustainable, and intentional.

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