Meet Advance Family Planning

The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health is the lead coordinating partner for Advance Family Planning (AFP), which comprises more than 20 organizations in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Based in the Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health conducts and facilitates cutting-edge research and translates science into evidence-informed policies, programs, and practice. The Institute works as an innovator, partner, advocate, and convener to bridge the gap between knowledge and implementation and promote access to universal reproductive health and family planning for all.

Meet the AFP team based in Baltimore, Maryland below. 

View the key contacts from our more than 20 partner organizations.

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AFP Resources
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High Level Ministerial Meeting: The Youth Dividend—Return on Investment

On November 12, 2013, 356 participants from 47 countries gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia at the High-Level Ministerial Meeting (HLMM) of the...

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Duff Gillespie

Principal Investigator, Advance Family Planning

Duff Gillespie is a Senior Scholar at The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, a Professor in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Project Director for AFP. Previously, Dr. Gillespie served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the Global Health Bureau at the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He has worked in the population and health field for over 30 years and was the Director of USAID’s Office of Population for seven years. Before moving to Johns Hopkins in 2004, he was a Visiting Scholar at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation. He supports India, Indonesia, and Kenya

Beth Fredrick

Executive Director, Advance Family Planning

Beth Frederick is the Executive Director of the AFP initiative of The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has worked with the Johns Hopkins University Center for Communications Programs, the International Women’s Health Coalition, and the Guttmacher Institute. She was a Bell Fellow at Harvard University and adjunct faculty with New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She serves on the Boards of Ibis Reproductive Health and EMpower, a grant-making organization that supports youth programs in emerging markets. She supports Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Ampliando de Acceso.


Kathryn Barrett

Program Specialist, Francophone Africa

Before joining AFP, Kate worked with a Paris-based African association to address administrative, health, and support needs for Sub-Saharan African immigrants living in the area. She was a Programme Assistant at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO’s) International Institute for Educational Planning in Paris, where she supported programs in Africa and Southeast Asia aimed at expanding quality education for children, youth and adults. She has a Masters in Intercultural Communication with a specialization in Intercultural Training from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. She supports Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Senegal.

Liz Bayer

Program Specialist

Liz previously served as the Population Reference Bureau Policy Fellow at USAID's Office of Population and Reproductive Health, where she worked with USAID staff and partners to understand and implement the US government's legal and policy requirements related to family planning. As a student, Liz worked with Plan UK, Advocates for Youth, and the Center for Health and Gender Equity on family planning, reproductive health, and HIV/AIDS policy and programming. She holds a MSPH degree in Reproductive, Perinatal and Women's Health from the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and a Bachelors’ degree in International Studies from American University. She supports Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda.

Amanda Burgess

Program Specialist

Previously, Amanda was the Repositioning Family Planning Intern with the Global Health Fellows Program II working with USAID’s Office of Population and Reproductive Health on strategies to mobilize resources, elevate the role of family planning and strengthen global leadership for family planning. Prior to her graduate work, Amanda spent time working with an NGO in Nicaragua on community health initiatives to improve the health of women and children in eleven rural communities. She holds both a B.S. with honors in chemistry from Purdue University as well as a Masters in Public Health with a specialization in global health from Washington University in St. Louis. She supports Bangladesh and India.

Aaron Brose


Aaron Brose joined AFP as a Program Specialist in August 2016. He is an advocacy and policy specialist with skills in project management, cross cultural communications, and high-level external engagement. He previously worked with World Vision in Washington DC where he supported advocacy and government relations efforts around family planning and maternal and child health. Aaron coordinated closely with field-based teams to message technical programs into US and global advocacy frameworks. He also supported the implementation of family planning advocacy programs in Kenya and India. He holds a degree in Public Policy from the University of Oregon. He supports Kenya, Indonesia, and Opportunity Fund.

Mervyn Christian

Program Officer, Advance Family Planning

Mervyn works with in-country partners to implement AFP’s advocacy approach. His work in programs and research combined approaches in community mobilization, behavior change communication, capacity building and advocacy. He has also been involved in addressing issues of sexual and gender based violence in the United States and post conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most recently at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, he coordinated monitoring and evaluation study on maternal and child health outcomes in Cambodia, Guatemala, Kenya and Zambia. He holds a Masters in Public Health from JHSPH and a post graduate degree in Management of NGOs from the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India. He supports Bangladesh and India.

Harshi Hettige

Communication Officer

Dedicated to contributing to powerful global solutions, Harshi pursued a Master of Public Administration in International Public and Nonprofit Management and Policy from NYU’s Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. She contributed her communication skills to international development and advocacy initiatives around the world, including the United Nations Development Programme and Women Deliver. Prior to AFP, she designed and implemented strategic communication and advocacy plans for civil society organizations in Guatemala and Sri Lanka. Now, she provides all of AFP’s partners with support in documenting their advocacy stories and success. Harshi has been with Advance Family Planning since 2014.

Sabrina Karklins

Program Manager, Advance Family Planning

Sabrina Karklins is a member of the Advance Family Planning (AFP) senior management team and technical lead for Nigeria, Kenya, and the Philippines. AFP is part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Since 2004, Sabrina has developed and collaborated with global partners on numerous research and advocacy efforts on reproductive health and family planning. Sabrina earned a master of public administration with a focus on public health and policy and international development from the University of Washington, Evans School of Public Policy and Governance and a Bachelor of Science in Chinese and German studies and language from Michigan State University.

Thuy-Linh Nguyen


As the Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) Officer for AFP, Linh develops M&E strategies for all AFP focus countries. Her expertise includes scientific communications for advocacy; data visualizations; and program planning/evaluation. Prior to AFP, she worked in vaccine research, advocacy, and communications at the International Vaccine Access Center, leading efforts to monitor global uptake of new and underutilized vaccines, implementation of vaccine programs, and impact evaluations. She also has experience in domestic policy advocacy for women’s health research, healthcare reform, and clinical epidemiology, with a special interest in women’s and maternal/child health. She completed her MPH and BA in biology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Danielle Rigby


Danielle began in the financial industry in 2005. Prior to joining The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health, she was a grants specialist with Howard County Government in Howard County, Maryland. 

Sarah Whitmarsh

Communication Manager, Advance Family Planning

Sarah joined AFP over three years ago and leads the initiative’s advocacy communication strategy design and implementation. She also helps support AFP’s programmatic work in Indonesia. Prior to joining AFP, Sarah worked as Communication Specialist at University Research Co., LLC (URC), a global health company based in Bethesda, MD, and led communication for the FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce at the University of London’s School of Pharmacy. Sarah received her B.S. in Microbiology University of Georgia in Athens. She was awarded the Roy H. Park Fellowship to attend the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Journalism and Mass Communication for her master's studies, specializing in medical journalism. 

Nicole Wilson


Nicole has over 13 years of experience in the finance industry. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Science and now completing her Master’s degree in Human Resource Management. Prior to joining The Bill & Melinda Gates Institute, she worked at University of Maryland Baltimore as a Budget Analyst.

Michelle Hawks Cuellar

AFP Fellow

Michelle is a 2004 Gates Millennium Scholar. She is a Fulbright scholar whose fellowship field work focused on exploring the determinants of cervical cancer mortality among Nicaraguan women. Upon returning to the US, she earned a Master’s of Science in Public Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (JHSPH). Most recently, Michelle held a joint appointment as a research analyst at the UC Berkeley Bixby Center for Population, Health, and Sustainability and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation’s Population and Reproductive Health Program. Michelle is currently a PhD candidate in the JHSPH Population, Family and Reproductive Health Department. She supports Ampliando el Acceso.

Celia Karp

Research Assistant

Prior to joining AFP, Celia was a Fulbright researcher in Ecuador where she studied maternal and infant health. She participated in the Global Health Fellows Program (GHFP-II) at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), where she supported public affairs for HIV/AIDS programs. As a PhD student in the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, she investigates family planning and reproductive health issues. Celia is passionate about women’s and maternal health. She has bachelors degrees in Public Health and Communications from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She supports Ampliando el Acceso.

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