Debra Matityahu: MD, Executive Director, President, Co-founder
Dr. Debbie Matityahu holds a bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering from Cornell University and a doctor of medicine from University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She is currently a practicing obstetrician and gynecologist and Chief of Service for The Permanente Medical Group at Kaiser Medical Center in Redwood City, California. She is the Chief Financial Officer of EPIX Orthopaedics and Anthem Orthopaedics. While traveling to Kenya in 2012, she saw a dire need for post-fistula services, so she co-founded Beyond Fistula in 2012 along with her then-13 year-old Arielle. She lives with her husband, Amir, and their two children, Arielle and Jake.
Amir Matityahu: MD, Secretary, Fundraiser
Amir Matityahu was born in Israel and moved to Palo Alto, California in 1978 where he learned English as a second language and matriculated through Palo Alto High School. He received his bachelor of science degree in Kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles, (UCLA) in 1992 and graduated from the Hahnemann University Medical School in Philadelphia in 1997. He received his orthopaedic residency training from Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. In 2002, he further trained in Orthopaedic Traumatology through a fellowship at the Adams R. Cowley Shock Trauma Center, a world-renowned trauma center.
In 2003, Dr. Amir Matityahu joined the staff at University of California – San Francisco/San Francisco General Hospital (UCSF/SFGH). He is presently the Director of Pelvis and Acetabular Trauma Reconstruction at SFGH and is an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Department of Orthopaedics at the UCSF. In addition, Dr. Matityahu is constantly developing innovative and minimally invasive surgical techniques to speed healing and return patients back to work and athletes back to the field more quickly.
Dr. Matityahu’s goal is to provide the highest quality of medical care available to all of his patients, promote, encourage, foster, and advance the art and science of orthopedic surgery. This includes state of the art treatment for complex orthopaedic injuries. The ability to offer state of the art surgical and medical treatment is maintained by active involvement in orthopaedic trauma research, teaching, and patient care. He values compassion, quality, integrity, teamwork, clinical research and education for both patients and other physicians.
He has been on the Board of Directors of Beyond Fistula since its founding in 2012 and additionally plays an invaluable role as a fundraiser.
Arielle Matityahu: Co-founder, At-Large Board Member
Arielle lives in California with their family and loves learning. They recently graduated from high school with a particular love for science, and plan to begin college in the fall of 2018. Arielle co-founded Beyond Fistula in 2012 after family travels to the area taught them about the problem of obstetric fistulas. Arielle was moved by the visit and felt pulled to help these women. They are proud of how much the organization has grown since its inception and hope that it will continue to expand and help more women.
Jacqueline Hantgan: At-Large Board Member
Jacqueline holds a BA in Anthropology from Tulane University and a graduate degree in Anthropology and Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. For many years, she was an elementary school teacher in California and New York City. She is happy to be on the board of Beyond Fistula and brings her expertise from leadership and outreach roles at Americans for Cures Foundation, The California Research and Cures Coalition, Americans for Cures, and The Jewish Community Center in Palo Alto, California. Her volunteer experience includes serving on the Board of the Women’s Alliance for Jewish Federation and the Kavod tzedakah collective. She and her husband, Rabbi Yoshi Zweiback, have three children.
Nell Maynard: Fundraising and Marketing Director
Nell Maynard is a native Coloradan who graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 2014, where she studied biochemistry and was a competitive horseback rider. Her interest in fistulas and global health began when she read Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone and Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s Half the Sky. While working as a medical scribe, she was introduced to Dr. Debbie Matityahu and seized at the opportunity to work for Beyond Fistula. She is a songwriter living in Nashville, Tennessee, and is pleased to be a part of the Beyond Fistula team, as humanitarianism and women’s health are issues close to her heart.
Carolyn Mabeya: Program Manager
Carol Mabeya first became curious about obstetric fistulas in 2000 when her husband, Dr. Hillary Mabeya, was traveling around Kenya to fix fistulas for free in ‘fistula camps’. The two eventually moved to Eldoret, Kenya, and Dr. Mabeya began work at the Gynocare Fistula Center. There, Carol began to understand who these fistula survivors were. She spent hours talking with the women in the ward and began to wonder how she could help them using her a background in education and master’s degree in counseling. In 2012, Carol met Dr. Debbie Matityahu, who was doing a fistula camp with Carol’s husband at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital. The two women began discussing how they could help the fistula survivors return to school, and Beyond Fistula was born. Since that time Carol has been involved in helping the program grow from those first three girls to over 40 that have been helped since 2012. She is currently continuing her studies by pursuing a PhD in counseling. It brings Carol great joy to know that she has been a part of helping these young women stand on their own and move on with their lives, stating, “it’s obvious that without our help these girls would continue to live in poverty and despair.”
Linner Too: Assistant Program Manager
While doing an internship in counseling and social work at Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret, Kenya in 2012, Linner met Debbie Matityahu, an American doctor travelling the world with her family. Linner offered to translate for Dr. Matityahu as she volunteered her medical services to help the fistula patients. It was through this encounter and the friendship that developed that Linner was introduced to the world of obstetric fistulas. She found herself deeply touched by the stories of these women, and searched for ways to help. After she graduated from her internship, Dr. Matityahu introduced her to Dr. and Mrs. Mabeya of the Gynocare Fistula Center. Linner chose to do her post-internship at the center, developed a friendship with Mrs. Mabeya, and shortly after began working with the first three women in the budding Beyond Fistula program. She worked as a counselor and assisted the young women’s adjustments back to school. In September of 2012 Linner was officially asked to join Beyond Fistula as the assistant program manager. Today it brings her great happiness to help these young women obtain the life skills that will enable them to stand on their own. She is passionate about helping these young women be able to fit into their community, enhance their self esteem, and achieve their goals. Aside from working for Beyond Fistula, Linner is concurrently studying to obtain her bachelor’s degree in social work.
Ashton Smith: Social Media, Marketing
Ashton is a native of Cupertino, California who studied business at Foothill College. A life-long friend of the Matityahus, he was an important figure in first establishing Beyond Fistula’s social media presence. He continues to volunteer with Beyond Fistula while simultaneously working as a designer at Mosaic Architects and studying product development at San Francisco State University. His passion is professional mountain biking and he can often be found competing as a sponsored biker.
Hillary Mabeya: MD, Surgeon
After medical school, Dr. Mabeya first worked in West Pokot. It was here that he met so many women suffering with fistulas, and, with a heavy heart, had to turn them away with instructions to return when a visiting fistula surgeon from Nairobi made a yearly trip to the hospital. Dr. Mabeya knew that these women deserved quicker and better treatment to relieve them from their suffering, so he studied and earned his master’s degree in obstetrics and gynecology from Nairobi University. In 2002, he went on to study at Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital, a premier center for fistula repair and training. In 2010 He met Dr. Debra Matityahu while both were volunteering for a ‘fistula camp’. The two discussed how vulnerable the fistula survivors were after surgery, and proposed a nonprofit to help them reintegrate into their communities after surgery. In 2011, he opened Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya and simultaneously began a PhD program at Ghent University in Belgium the following year. He still works at the Gynocare Fistula Center and is s proud member of the Beyond Fistula Kenya staff. He now lives in Eldoret with his wife, Carolyne, and two youngest daughters while his eldest daughter studies at boarding school.
Ann Ojina: Tailoring Instructor
Ann comes from Migori, Kenya and now lives in Eldoret. She completed class 7 in school, then became pregnant and had a difficult labor that left her with a fistula. Thankfully, her daughter survived. Ann sought treatment at the Gynocare Fistula Center in Eldoret, Kenya, and had surgery to fix her fistula. She recovered well but did not have skills to rely on to support herself and her daughter when she returned home, so she applied to Beyond Fistula’s tailoring program. Despite the program being very small at the time, Ann’s work ethic and dedication to learning earned her a spot. She was so successful in learning to sew that, when she graduated, Beyond Fistula hired her as the instructor of the tailoring program. Her daughter, Taylor, is now seven years old and is thriving. Ann is glad to be able to pay Taylor’s school fees so that she can have opportunities that Ann herself did not.
Irene Ototo: Social Worker, Business Module Workshop Co-teacher
Irene earned her degree in social work in 2012, and immediately entered the field of fistula recovery. She is deeply invested in the healing of fistula survivors, and works in service to them with great passion. At Beyond Fistula, she co-teaches the business module workshop to equip survivors with the fiscal skills to support themselves. She also provides her social work expertise to help each woman map a path to health. Irene is truly grateful for this opportunity to touch lives and fight back against fistulas.