Avriel Diaz is a first years masters student at Columbia University, with a B.S. in Aquatic and Marine Science from SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Her experience with infectious dieseases in aquatic ecosystems during her research work with Unitied States Geological Survey led her to move to Ecuador in July of 2016. There she helped to provide relief from the 2016 7.8 earthquake then cofounded an NGO, Walking Palms Global Health Initiative. The NGO focuses on disaster relief, holistic recovery, and research. Her current investigations look at Zika, Dengue, and Chikungunya viruses, disease ecology, psychology, integrating ecosystems, community health, and sustainable community development.
International Exchange Manager: Sophia Kalomeris
Sophia is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Nursing at University of San Francisco. She has been volunteering in the health field since 2014, working in hospitals, clinics, and private practice work. She got involved with Walking Palms in 2017, by coordinating a group of nursing students to attend to our partnered communities through the form of health brigades. Since then, she has gotten more involved with the organization, coordinating more health brigades, and helping to facilitate research and local projects in the area. She is from Marin County, located in Northern California, and currently resides in San Francisco, CA when she's not in Bahia. This is her first role in the non-profit sector. She hopes to continue to merge her love of Nursing with community health and preventative medicine.
Community Outreach: Orlando Dominguez
Wilmer "Orlando" Arias Dominguez, currently lives in San Isidro. He currently works for an organization known as Planet Drum United Nations. He is a vital team member for Walking Palms as well, as he is one of our community health workers, who helps run the insulin-house call program here in Bahia.
Field Research Team Member: Jacob Robinson
Jacob Robison is an undergraduate student of biological sciences at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His area of interests includes infectious disease ecology and medical ethnobotany. Jacob seeks to enter into either a phD or M.D. program after graduation. Jacob hails from beautiful Southern California his hobbies include surfing, swimming, running, hiking, getting lost in the woods, and chewing loudly.
Community Outreach and Pharmacist: Leonela Lucas
Leonela Chavez Lucas is an 18 year old nursing student currently residing in Bahia. She is currently our pharmacist, but works in many areas of the organization. She enjoys helping out with Walking Palms projects and volunteer opportunities.
Contact: +593 99 019 6865 (WhatsAPP)
Field Research Team Member: Juliana Jeremiah
Societies are often plagued with disasters that can occur in many forms including natural, political and structural to name a few. Usually these plagues create unrest in developing nations. In quoting former Prime Minister of Grenada Maurice Bishop who once said “Destabilization can work only when the people do not know that it is happening”. In pursuit of a doctorate in Global Health as it relates to emerging infectious diseases, Kisha Juliana Jeremiah is currently a Master of Public Health and Preventative Medicine candidate at SUNY Upstate Medical University, New York. She hails from the island Grenada located twelve degrees north of the equator where zoonotic diseases, particularly arboviruses and microbial pathogens were considered somewhat normal due to the lack of availability of pharmaceutical resources.
Juliana has concluded that the varying levels of perception amongst populations will prioritize resources. Her intention is to guide said priorities by mobilizing community-based partnerships that will incorporate traditional herbal therapies at the interface between mindfulness and conventional medicine.
She obtained her Baccalaureate degree from the University of Kentucky in Agricultural and Medical Biotechnology; minored in Microbiology. She has worked as a Research Associate at ParaTechs Corporation in Lexington, Kentucky where she made genetic modifications to a baculovirus expression vector. Additionally, she has coordinated the LSAMP research program for Syracuse University, which serves as an advocate for minority participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Her overarching goal is to incorporate her knowledge of developing nations’ nuisances that are often overlooked to ensure healthier populations.
Director of Hope Music Ecuador and Project Lead Music Therapy David Cedeño Rodriguez