AIM grew out of an innovative disease mapping breakthrough that was supported by American Leprosy Missions in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine as well as the Ministry of Health in Ghana. Using routine surveillance data of existing cases and morbidity, AIM partners with Ministries of Health, NGOs and others to map cases of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), enabling more accurately targeted delivery of health services.

AIM combines this innovative mapping method with support for integrated strategic planning and highly targeted case management that helps to better identify at-risk groups, reduce disability, and improve disease control. Our approach is designed to increase access to health services for people living with an NTD, enable disease elimination and increase early detection through combined NTD programs for case management.

AIM is a collaboration that brings together diverse partners including endemic country governments, research institutions, private sector, donors, and non-government organizations to accelerate integrated management of NTDs. American Leprosy Missions is the founding partner of AIM.

The AIM Initiative Team

Anna Wickenden, Director of AIM Initiative

Anna Wickenden
Global Director 

Anna serves as the global director of AIM, helping to advance the initiative by developing and sustaining strategic partnerships, securing funding and leading operations. Anna has the primary responsibility for AIM’s global mapping and disease management efforts and programs. In addition, she works to expand AIM’s reach through advocacy, presentations, publications, and technical input.

Anna has been working in the field of health, disability, and inclusive development since 2003, initially working with children and young people with disabilities in community-based programs in the UK, East Africa and North America. Anna has extensive experience in program management, resource mobilization, and advocacy. Most recently, Anna served as the director of international programs at effect:hope. She has championed the incorporation of participatory practices, integrated programming, and inclusive approaches in all aspects of effect:hope’s global programs. Anna has led the development of an organizational theory of change at effect:hope and an engagement strategy which has inclusion and integration as core approaches. She has a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and International Development and a masters’ degree in Gender and International Development from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex and is passionate about the opportunities that cross-sectoral collaboration provides for addressing issues and challenges that have previously been intractable within the global health and development field.

Dr. Julien Ake
Interim Global Director

Julien Ake received his medical degree from the Medical School of the University of Côte d’Ivoire. He began his professional career in 1996, and has accumulated 20 years of outstanding experience at all levels of the health system. This includes serving at the very peripheral level of the community, to serving at top leadership level of health policies development within the health system of his home country, Côte d’Ivoire. He served as vice president for global programs while at MAP International from 2012 to 2016, an American-based organization working in international health development.

Julien joined effect:hope Canada in October 2016 in the position of senior technical advisor supporting the implementation of the Every Child Thrives project and the strategic development of the organization in neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). Beginning in November 2018, he also supports the implementation of the AIM Initiative as interim global director.

Among many achievements, Julien’s work is internationally recognized for its contribution to the eradication of Guinea Worm in Côte d’Ivoire and the development of health systems strengthening and integration strategies of leprosy, Buruli ulcer and other NTDs within the health systems in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya and Liberia.

Tiawanlyn Gongloe G. Akpan
Project Officer

Tiawanlyn Gongloe G. Akpan is the project officer responsible for supporting country teams and partners in implementing countries. Tiawanlyn earned a dual Masters in Public Health and Applied Health Sciences from Indiana University-Bloomington. Since completing her education four years ago, she has worked in Liberia providing technical support to the Ministry of Health, first as a technical advisor to the Montserrado County Ebola Response Team and later as a technical advisor to the NTDs program. Tiawanlyn supported the NTDs program team in Liberia during the development of the first CM NTDS strategic plan that is currently being implemented.

Patrick Atikpo Mawulolo
Finance and Program Officer

As finance and program officer, Patrick is responsible for managing and directing finances and accounting, including budget development and tracking, reporting and analysis, contracts and grants, and taxation. In addition, he supports programs and the development of financial and operational guidelines and reporting formats for the country projects.

Patrick joined the AIM team with six years of experience in accounting, finance and office administration, including the financial management of sub awards. For five years Patrick ensured the successful implementation of the annual work plan budgets of the End in Africa Project in Ghana through the Ghana NTD Program (of the Ghana Health Service).

Patrick holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Studies from Wisconsin International University College, Ghana and a Higher National Diploma Certificate in Accounting from Koforidua Polytechnic (Koforidua Technical University), Ghana. He is currently an MBA candidate in Accounting and Finance at the University of Professional Studies in Accra, Ghana.

Melissa Edmiston
Data, Monitoring and Evaluation Advisor

Prior to joining American Leprosy Missions and the AIM Initiative, Melissa worked with various global health and economic development projects in west and east Africa, supporting monitoring and evaluation methods and systems development to show impact and inform program improvement. Melissa served as a program manager during the Ebola outbreak in Liberia helping to strengthen community prevention measures. She later worked as a research fellow with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to build countries’ local capacity to prevent and respond to public health outbreaks. Passionate about capacity building and effective collaboration, Melissa uses data creatively to tell stories, especially in complex environments.

Melissa completed her B.S. in Nutrition and Master of Public Health at the University of Tennessee. She is also currently completing a master’s in applied analytics at St. Louis University.

Caroline Kusi
Program Director

Caroline helps design and implement AIM’s strategy; provides technical and managerial oversight of research and programmatic activities; and builds and maintains partnerships with ministries of health, WHO, and NGOs. Caroline has been working in the field of health systems strengthening and social and behavioral science since 2009. She began her career in global health as a National Institute of Health minority health and health disparities international research trainee in Kumasi, Ghana. Caroline also served as an evaluation fellow for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Georgia and later as East Africa program coordinator for University of California-San Francisco’s Preterm Birth Initiative, providing technical and operational oversight of maternal and child health activities in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda.

Caroline has extensive expertise in research and program design and implementation, capacity building of healthcare providers and project management. Most recently, she was a senior program associate at The Task Force for Global Health, designing, overseeing, and executing social and behavioral research projects in neglected tropical diseases in Africa.

Caroline has a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology and global studies from Lehigh University and a Master of Public Health degree from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She is passionate about building and nurturing relationships; and using unconventional wisdom, social and behavioral frameworks, and participatory research approaches to solve complex social problems.

Paul Saunderson, Technical Advisor of AIM Initiative

Dr. Paul Saunderson
Technical Advisor

Paul Saunderson is a British doctor, having qualified in medicine at Cambridge University, England in 1976. In 2000, after almost 20 years in Africa working in leprosy and tuberculosis control in both Uganda and Ethiopia, Paul was appointed as medical director of American Leprosy Missions, where he continues to work.

In 2004, Paul was awarded a doctorate degree from Cambridge, for earlier research on nerve damage in leprosy, carried out in Ethiopia. A central component of his work with American Leprosy Missions is to coordinate support for research, in particular the development of a new vaccine for leprosy. Since 2000, he has also been very involved with both the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations and the World Health Organization in an advisory capacity, as well as authoring a number of training manuals for field staff which are still widely used.  With over 60 peer-reviewed publications to his credit, in 2013, Paul took on the role of editor of Leprosy Review, the only international scientific journal devoted specifically to leprosy research.

Our Partners

AIM consists of a number of organizations who are working together to map NTDs and increase access to health services for people affected by neglected tropical diseases.

  • alm_founding_partner
  • effecthope
  • Federal Ministry of Health
  • Ghana Health Services
  • LeprosyReliefCanada
  • Ministry of Health The Republic of the Union of Myamar
  • Republic of Liberia
  • Sri Lanka Ministry of Health
  • Ministere de la Sante Publique
  • KIT_fulllogo
  • Sasakawa
  • The Leprosy MIssion Mozambique
Discover how your organization can get involved with AIM »