NorthSouth Group
Photo: Project Lighthouse


The NorthSouth Group was formed out of a concern for the persistence of poverty and vulnerability. We come from international agencies, NGOs, academia and government. Our mission is to collaborate with local partners and communities to improve the health and well-being of those at risk.


Maj-Lis Voss, Executive Director
Public health, child and adolescent health and development

Maj-Lis Voss - a Swedish national, an economist and public health specialist has worked for almost twenty years on global health issues, focusing on poverty reduction with extensive experience in the South Asia region. She has taken part in the development of numerous human development projects at the World Bank where she carried out operational and analytical work. She contributed to a range of major strategy and policy papers and sought to bring neglected issues and vulnerable populations into Bank operations. At Stanford University she led a new initiative to address neglected diseases in Asia and Western Pacific. Maj-Lis is affiliated with ECPAT, an international organization working towards eliminating human trafficking.  


Shabnam Basha, MBBS 
Public health, community health, maternal and child health

Shabnam Basha – a US-Indian national and a physician with a passion for access to healthcare. Her focus has been community health and reducing health disparities in developing countries among the poorest. She has organized and led health education and knowledge building programs in poor rural communities and in large urban areas in India. More recently, as the Global Health Advisor to APAVH (Asia and Pacific Alliance to Eliminate Viral Hepatitis) at Stanford University she initiated and implemented an awareness raising campaign against Hepatitis B among healthcare workers in India. She also organized a free screening and vaccination camp in India on World Hepatitis Day which benefited a large group of people. She has volunteered at a Rotacare Free Clinic in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides healthcare to the uninsured. Shabnam Basha is passionate about improving women's health, and in particular the quality of maternal and child health.


Meenu Bhambhani, PhD
Disability and development

Meenu Bhambhani - an Indian national, is an expert on disability and social policy. Dr. Bhambhani is currently the Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility at MphasiS, an award-winning company supporting the improvement of global business processes, located in Bangalore, India. She has worked on disability and development at the World Bank, held a high-level government position as Commissioner for Disability, and served as a Program Officer for the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Persons with Disabilities (NCPEDP) in India. Her work has been published, resulted in policy changes vis-à-vis disability, and brought recognition for disability in different socio-political and academic platforms. Dr. Bhambhani received her M.S. in Disability and Human Development from the University of Illinois at Chicago in July 2004, supported by a Fellowship from the International Ford Foundation, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Rajasthan in 1998.


Jindra Cekan, PhD
Nutrition, food security, and livelihoods

Jindra Cekan - a U.S.- Czech national, has worked for two decades in international development with private voluntary organizations, consulting companies, and academia. Dr. Cekan's work, and her publications, are in the areas of disaster relief, food security and livelihoods, and HIV/AIDS prevention and care. Her expertise lies in the areas of project design; grant writing and management; monitoring, evaluation, and qualitative assessments and tools; training and facilitation; and strategic planning. She has been a lecturer at Tufts University and Harvard University. Dr. Cekan received a PhD in Economics and Political Science from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, in 1994.


Leena Lahti, PhD
Change management, gender/diversity, leadership coaching/mentoring

Leena Lahti - a Finnish national, is an expert on gender and diversity, human resources management and development, leadership coaching and mentoring, and change management - areas in which she has worked and published extensively. Her work experience in public and private sector organizations ranges from child welfare to international development. Dr. Lahti served for ten years as the Senior Advisor on Diversity to the International Monetary Fund, and since 2007, with the Europen Investment Bank. She is also an independent consultant in her own company Axianet Oy, working with major international institutions on operational and strategic surveys, assessments, and policy development. She received a PhD in Management Development from Tampere University in 1993.


Shreelata Rao Seshadri, PhD
Public health, HIV/AIDS prevention, and social development

Shreelata Rao Seshadri - a U.S. national, is a Social Development Specialist based in India
who has worked for two decades on public health issues. She has contributed to the development of a wide range of public health, disease control, and social development projects in India. She was instrumental in preparing several projects in South Asia on poverty and health issues, particularly among vulnerable women and children. Dr. Rao-Seshadri has more recently returned to a more hands-on engagement with public health programs in India, and their implementation and evaluation. Her focus is on the design of strategies to ensure wider participation of vulnerable and marginalized groups in provision and utilization of health services. Her work has been published in numerous professional journals - she is also an award-winning writer of fiction. Dr. Rao-Seshadri received a PhD in Sociology from the Pennsylvania State University in 1993.  


Carina Torfalk
Education, teacher training

Carina Torfalk - a Swedish national, is a teacher and educator who has worked with children and adolescents for more than two decades. She has devised methods of curriculum development, instituted innovative teaching methods, and promoted access to expanded curricula such as biotechnology for the younger student population. As part of her research, she has studied different perspectives on school development; globalization of the education sector; and curriculum development for students with different abilities. Ms. Torfalk has extensive experience in teacher training, mentoring, and student- teacher monitoring and evaluation.        



The Niblock Charitable Trust is funding our work in Kenya to support orphans and vulnerable children.

ExxonMobil The NorthSouth Group receives a grant for its outreach work from the ExxonMobil Foundation.

NorthSouth Group Advisory Committee member Mariam Khokhar is awarded International Organization for Migration Director General's Award for her contribution to IOM's immediate earthquake response.

International Organization for Migration Award

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NorthSouth Group discusses human trafficking at the International Health Conference at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Human Trafficking

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