Anna Brown, along with 9 other passionate students, founded Project HEAL in 2008 as a small club with ambitions. Since then, our membership and goals have grown considerably. We have coordinated 3 international projects and have recently started an ongoing local health education initiative in partnership with El Centro Hispano. We have had a history of success in gaining funding for our summer initiatives. In 2009, four students received funding from DukeEngage to carry out our health education and research goals. In 2010, the Engineering Alumni Council provided funds to cover our material costs, and several students received funding from Duke funding bodies such as the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies. We envision that Project HEAL will continue to balance local and international initiatives focused on health education and research, and hope to expand to other Latin American countries eventually, as well as maintain continuity in our current projects.

Mission Statement


The mission of Project HEAL is to implement research and service projects in Latin American communities with the aim of reducing global health disparities through education and empowerment. We value sustainable development and preventative measures to improve community health.


  1. To coordinate health education projects with women, children, and adolescents,
  2. To conduct research that examines health issues and evaluates existing programs and infrastructures, and
  3. To develop and implement workshops focused on women’s and children’s health issues.

Our Partners:

In Durham: 

  • Durham Crisis Response Center
  • Bull City Fit
  • El Centro Hispano (coming soon!)


  • Shoulder to Shoulder 
  • Un Mundo (Previous) Picture 36.png

Meet the Team!



Dr. Clements is a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics, Community and Family Medicine, Nursing and Global Health at Duke University. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Rochester in New York and completed his pediatric residency at Duke University.

Dr. Clements is currently the Division Chief of Primary Care Pediatrics and director of the medical school class Exploring Medicine in Foreign Cultures which culminates in a 10-day medical mission to Honduras. He is the director of the third year track in Global Health for the Duke School of Medicine. He is also the Medical Advisor to the Medical Spanish curriculum for Duke medical students. He is the Senior Advisor to the Duke Global Health Institute and the co-Director of the Consortium of Duke and UNC in Latin American Studies. Dr. Clements has been a representative to the Academic Council for the School of Medicine for 10 years and serves on its Executive Committee. He has been active in SEEDS, the Durham non-profit teaching inner-city children to garden, and many other community organizations.



Lissa Niera, Trinity ’19, is from Calgary, Aberta in Canada. She studying Evolutionary Anthropology, and has been involved with Project HEAL since her freshman year.


Ivana Premasinghe, Trinity ’19, is studying Biology and Spanish, with hopes of becoming a doctor in the future. She loves to sing, and is a music volunteer at a local retirement home for Alzheimer’s patients. At Duke, she is a part of the Duke flash mob singing group, Blue Moon. She also conducts research on the Bass Connections team about how music affects Alzheimer’s patients. She also started a branch of her state-wide club, Leaders UNITE, to continue her passions of hands-on leadership. Ivana has done an exchange program with students from Pilar, Argentina, and this lead to her passionate about various topics relating to Latin America. On Project HEAL, her favorite activity is giving health presentations to the women at the DCRC.

President of External Affairs

Nava Barman, Trinity ’18, is from Aurora, Colorado. He is majoring in Neuroscience with a minor in Global Health. He has been to Honduras twice with Project HEAL. He enjoys being able to organize the summer research and volunteer experience for HEAL in Honduras, and communicating with our partner NGO Shoulder to Shoulder. He enjoys hiking, camping, and producing music.

Campus Outreach Director

Noelle Garbaccio, Trinity ’20, is from New Jersey. She is studying Global Health and Biology, with a minor in Spanish. She loves medicine, and dedicates a lot of her time to serving as a volunteer emergency medical technician at Duke and at home in New Jersey. Project Heal has become a fundamental part of her Duke experience. Noelle began Project HEAL as a first semester freshman to participate in Spanish healthcare presentations, and travelled with PHEAL this past summer to conduct mental health research in Honduras.

Local Outreach Director 

Samuel Chin, Trinity ’18, is from Lexington, Massachusetts.

Global Engagement Director

Dahlia Chacon, Trinity ’20, went to Honduras with Project HEAL this past summer.

Communications Director

Isabelle Doan, Trinity ’20, is from Greenville, South Carolina. She is majoring in Public Policy.