Freedom from Hunger is proud to announce that on September 1, 2014, Dr. Gabriela Salvador, MD, MPH will join its staff as Senior Director, Microfinance and Health Protection. Dr. Salvador will lead Freedom from Hunger’s global Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) program which increases access to health services for the poor through combined health behavior-change education, health financing, health products and linkages of health services to health-financing products. These services are delivered through formal and informal financial service providers in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
 
Dr. Salvador joins Freedom from Hunger after an illustrious career at Pro Mujer, where she led the Health and Human Development Department and the operations of 100 health clinics throughout five countries in Latin America.
 
She has also served in a variety of senior management, public health and medical provider roles. Prior to joining Pro Mujer, Dr. Salvador was in private practice as a Pediatric Ophthalmologist in Mexico. She worked as Clinical Manager for High Performance Medicine at Partners Community Healthcare and consulted with the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the Linked Foundation and the Wright Foundation. Dr. Salvador currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Containers to Clinics (C2C), which focuses on development and implementation of a sustainable primary care, health-delivery system in rural areas in Haiti.
 
“We are truly delighted to have Dr. Salvador joining our team,” commented Freedom from Hunger President and CEO Steve Hollingworth. “As a global leader in the field of integrated microfinance and health, she understands the remarkable potential for reaching very poor people with access to health services by establishing cross-sector partnerships between the financial services and health sectors,” he continued. Dr. Salvador graduated from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), where she received a Masters in Public Health, specializing in Health Policy and Management. She studied medicine at the National University of Cordoba, School of Medicine in Argentina, completed her residency training at Pedro Lagleyze Hospital in Buenos Aires and held a clinical and surgical fellowship in Ophthalmology at the University of California, Irvine and Cedars Sinai Medical Center Los Angeles, CA.
 
Under the stewardship of outgoing Senior Director Marcia Metcalfe, Freedom from Hunger has successfully scaled up its interventions in health program, which are delivered through 26 microfinance institutions (MFIs) and other financial service providers, and is currently reaching more than 2.6 million clients. “We will sadly miss Marcia, whose visionary leadership was a key factor in the outstanding success of this initiative, but we know that she is leaving this ground-breaking program in good hands,” said Freedom from Hunger, Vice President, Programs, Kathleen Stack.
 
Ms. Metcalfe joined Freedom from Hunger with extensive experience in the health care field domestically. She brought a range of technical and managerial skills to her role as leader of a complex health and financial services program. Under Ms. Metcalfe’s leadership, Freedom from Hunger has grown our MAHP programming globally, expanded the depth and scope of the impact of the program and partners as well as demonstrated successful and cost-effective models to the sector.
 
Many MFIs, particularly those serving the very poor, have witnessed the significant impact that all too common health shocks can have on their clients’ ability to repay, save and flourish in their microenterprise endeavors. These institutions seek sustainable approaches that help safeguard their clients’ health while also protecting the institutional bottom line. Public health systems benefit by expanding the ability of poor clients to access and request high-quality service.
 
Through our partnership with the Microcredit Summit Campaign, we will continue to build and support a global alliance to promote and support this field of practice. We will facilitate and support the development of regional and country-level “communities of practice,” through which we will share what we learn and expand global support for linking financial and health services. We will focus on replication and scale with our partners who have demonstrated a commitment to implementing solutions that target measureable improvements (education plus at least one other intervention). With them, we will continue to document the business case; test new innovations (approaches, products and technology); build partnerships with governments and the health sector; and measure the impact of our programs on clients and the organization’s social performance and fiscal viability. As we look toward the geographic expansion of our work, we see particular opportunity in Africa, primarily through savings-led initiatives.

Freedom from Hunger, a recognized expert in integrated financial and nonfinancial services for the poor, launched the Microfinance and Health Protection (MAHP) initiative in January 2006 with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since then, significant support has come from Johnson & Johnson, Corporación Andina de Fomento (CAF), Skees Family Foundation, Visa and others.