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The GDS Team

The GDS team brings a wealth of experience in designing, implementing, monitoring and evaluating health and development programs. GDS has been providing consultancies for development agencies since 2014. However, the breadth and depth of the expertise of the staff that came together to found GDS extends back much further.


Each of the principal staff is a veteran in health care and development who has pioneered innovative approaches in service 

delivery, field research and capacity building. The team members have worked with numerous donors, including USAID, CDC, DoS, DoD, UNFPA, WHO, UNIFEM, UNICEF, World Bank, IDRC, Ford, GAVI and GFATM. The core team is supported by a distinguished Advisory Board who have decades of international development experience.

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President and CEO, Abul Hashem, is a results-oriented public health and development executive with extensive experience in designing and implementing programs, and business development. His expertise includes strategic planning, organizational development, project management, market analysis, partnership building, proposal writing, capacity building, policy development, and supply chain management. He managed large and complex projects at global, regional, and country levels involving numerous subcontractors, partners and multi-disciplinary and multi-ethnic staff.  He is a visionary leader, strategic thinker, entrepreneur and excellent communicator with an extensive global network. He has worked in 58 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the South Pacific including conflict and fragile states such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Liberia, Northern Nigeria and Papua New Guinea. He has worked at the grassroots level and at high profile policy and leadership levels. 

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Senior Vice President, Dr. Michael Bernhart, has over 20 years of experience directing successful social development programs, primarily in health care. He is an acknowledged authority in quality improvement of health care and is recognized for his contributions to expanding access to health care, systems strengthening, behavior change, policy reform, community promotion, and training innovations. He directed one of the first health systems strengthening programs in population, the first large scale community-based program on domestic violence and breast cancer in Jordan, women’s reproductive rights in Guatemala, expansion of access and improved service quality in Cambodia, maternal health in Pakistan, and the quality of healthcare in Indonesia. He also directed a program to strengthen rural cooperatives, an academic degree program in public sector management, and produced two public television series. Every program surpassed its objectives.

Dr. Bernhart received his Bachelor’s degree from Brown University and Master’s and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).


Food and Nutrition Lead, Dr. Nina Schlossman, is a leading food and nutrition expert with extensive experience in food value chain and product development, food security, food aid, and nutrition throughout the life cycle. She has worked with public and private-sector organizations, fostering public-private partnerships that led to improved nutritional quality and diversity of locally available food. She has conducted extensive research, including clinical and field-based acceptability, effectiveness, and efficacy trials and field-based randomized controlled trials. Dr. Schlossman conducted market surveys to determine acceptability of food products and implemented behavioral change programs to promote food diversity with high nutritional value. She has published extensively on food and nutrition and is an adjunct professor at Tufts University.

Dr. Schlossman received a Master’s degree in Nutritional Biochemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a PhD in International Nutrition from Tufts University.

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Immunization Lead: Dr. Mohamed Elferaly brings over 35 years of experience in public health, immunization, social and behavior change communication (SBCC), capacity building, program management and coordination, and monitoring and evaluation. He served as an expert for UNICEF in Afghanistan advising on the polio program. In Afghanistan he also worked for GDS to conduct an analysis of the SBCC component of the country’s EPI program and designed a communication strategy to promote immunization services. He conducted training for the organizers of National Immunization Day (NID) campaign in Sudan on demand generation and supervision of vaccinators; he led high-level advocacy with the Turkish government for polio vaccination inside and outside the Syrian refugee camps; he conducted an assessment of NGO capacity to provide community support and mass education on immunization; and he developed educational materials for polio and routine immunization. He developed communication strategy to reach most at risk population in Egypt and developed a five-year strategy for capacity building. 

Dr. Elferaly is a medical doctor with an MPH from Harvard University. 


Vice President for Supply Chain Management, Shyam Lama, has 30 years of experience in global health supply chain management in the areas of reproductive health, EPI, nutrition, and HIV/AIDS. He has provided technical assistance on components of supply chain management such as quantification, procurement, transportation, warehousing, distribution, and logistics management information system (LMIS). He has introduced innovative ways to improve the availability of health commodities at the last-mile delivery and developed guidelines and tool kits in supply chain management that have been translated into many languages and are being used worldwide.

Mr. Lama has worked in many countries in Asia and Africa, including Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Jordan, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Ethiopia, Thailand, and Turkey. Besides being a supply-chain-management expert, he led high-performing project management teams out of the Wash-ington DC headquarters as Regional Director and also in field offices as Country Director/Chief of Party.

Mr. Lama is a Certified Project Manager with a Master’s Certificate in Project Management from George Washington University and a diploma in logistics management from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Mr. Lama speaks English, Nepali, Thai, and Bangla.


Service Delivery Lead, Jet C Riparip, has over 30 years of experience in health care and development.  Her expertise includes strategic planning, project management, social marketing, public-private partnership, gender equality, civil society governance and institution building, organizational development, and corporate social responsibility. She is an innovator, a skill she has used in managing multi-million dollar projects and organizations and in handling high-level corporate positions. In the Philippines, she was Project Director, Country Representative, and Asia Regional Director for John Snow Inc., Director of Regional Operations for Chemonics Inc., and Vice-President for Marketing (and responsible for CSR) at Aetna Life Inc. In Indonesia, Ms. Riparip was Project Director for Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health, while in Papua New Guinea, she was the Country Director

for Marie Stopes International-PNG. In Thailand, she was Asia Regional Representative of the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, covering 11 countries in the region. She was a long-term consultant for the World Bank


Laboratory Systems Lead, Dr. Sameer Sakallah, is a leading public health laboratory expert with over 30 years of experience in laboratory setup and management, accreditation assistance (ISO17025 and ISO15189), and supply chain management. Under a USAID global project, he standardized hundreds of clinical laboratory commodities, developed kits and established a new supply chain for a large-scale, multi-national Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision (VMMC), an HIV infection prevention program. Previously, he established and directed the state of New Hampshire’s public health molecular diagnostics testing laboratory that has become one of the best in the United States. He established laboratory protocols and trained staff and physicians on advanced molecular diagnostic technologies and applications. He has provided technical assistance in laboratory capacity building in Africa, Middle East, and Asia.

Dr. Sakallah obtained a Master’s degree in Biochemistry from Duquesne University and a PhD in Medical Biochemistry from West Virginia University.


Behavioral Change Communication Lead, Carol Hooks, is a health and development communications specialist with 25 years of experience providing technical assistance, training, and program development assistance to international and domestic organizations. Her areas of expertise include strategic communication, fundraising, writing, editing, program assessment, organizational development, and performance improvement. She has collaborated with academic, non-profit, private, and public institutions in 32 countries on a wide variety of topics affecting national, regional, and community development. From 1989 until 2006, Ms. Hooks held progressively more responsible positions at PATH. Since then she has consulted for organizations such as CAMRIS Int’l, Chemonics International, CORE Group, Gates Foundation, GH Tech, Institute for Reproductive Health, INDEPTH Network, International Rescue Committee, International Vaccine Initiative, IPTi Consortium, John Snow, Inc., Johns Hopkins University, and the World Bank.

She holds a B.S. in Languages from Georgetown University.


Monitoring and Evaluation Lead, Dr. Disha Ali, is a monitoring and evaluation specialist. She designed and implemented performance monitoring and evaluation plans for public health programs and health facilities; directed population-based surveys in Asia and Africa; conducted economic evaluations of programs, including costing of HIV and child nutrition programs; and conducted assessments of supply chain programs. She has applied quantitative, qualitative and econometrics methods in program evaluation. Disha Ali has contributed book chapters and articles in peer-reviewed journals. She has worked in BRAC, JSI, ICDDR/ B, the Center for Health and Population Research, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. 

She received her Bachelor’s degree in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Chittagong, an MPH from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a PhD from Tulane University.

Paul Sossa

Africa Region Representative, Paul Sossa, is Principal Associate and the Africa Regional Representative for GDS. He specializes in family planning /reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases. Mr. Sossa brings almost 30 years of experience in program development, management and monitoring, evaluation, training and capacity building, and service delivery. He has worked extensively in West Africa for USAID, JSI, Jhpiego, PSI, IMA, CAMRIS, and Engenderhealth. Hailing from Togo, Mr. Sossa lived in Ghana and Kenya.

He received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law from University of Benin.

Asia Region Representative, Ngudup Paljor, is Principal Associate and the Asia Regional Representative for GDS. He has 20 years of experience in public health and development programs in the Asia and Pacific region. He has designed, managed and evaluated programs on reproductive health, child health, food security, and infectious diseases, as well as health systems strengthening.  He has worked with USAID, AED, ISTI, International Center for Diarrheal Disease Research (ICDDR,B), RACHA (Cambodian local organization) and the Government of Guam. He lived in Guam, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines. 


He has a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and an MPH from the University of Hawaii.

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