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.


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.


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.


Emmy Van Der Grinten, Senior Technical Advisor of AIM Initiative

Dr. Emmy van der Grinten
Program Director

Emmy has been working in the field of neglected tropical diseases since 1999, when she served as a state tuberculosis and leprosy coordinator at the Kaduna State Ministry of Health in Nigeria. Between 2008 and 2012, Emmy was the chief of party of the Nigeria TBCAP and TBCARE I projects, implemented by KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation and its international coalition partners. Both projects were supported by USAID. She then worked closely with the government at national, regional and state levels. After leaving Nigeria in 2012, Emmy worked as a regional tuberculosis advisor for KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation in Southern Africa. From 2013 to 2016, she served as the regional director for Africa for American Leprosy Missions.

As program director of the AIM Initiative, Emmy liaises with the different government entities and other implementing organisations at the country level. She supports mapping, strategic plan development and the actual implementation of integrated interventions for NTDs.

Emmy has extensive experience in programme management from managerial and technical perspectives. Having worked as a government official earlier in her career and later in a role working closely with government programmes at all levels, Emmy is an advocate for government ownership and support for health systems strengthening in the countries the AIM Initiative supports.

Emmy holds a medical degree from the University of Maastricht, the Netherlands, and has a postgraduate degree in tropical medicine.


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
  • LSHTM
  • lmlogo
  • KIT_fulllogo
  • Sasakawa
  • LeprosyReliefCanada
  • Federal Ministry of Health
  • Ghana Health Services
  • Ministry of Health The Republic of the Union of Myamar
  • Ministere de la Sante Publique
  • Republic of Liberia
Discover how your organization can get involved with AIM »