Stamford, Conn. – Feb. 7, 2019 – Americares, the health-focused relief and development organization, has welcomed Brenda Rivera-García, DVM, MPH, as director of its Puerto Rico Recovery Program. In her new role, Dr. Rivera is responsible for overseeing Americares Hurricane Maria recovery operations in Puerto Rico, implementing programs that meet survivors’ long-term health needs and directing initiatives that strengthen health systems in vulnerable communities. Americares work in Puerto Rico includes mental health and psychosocial programming for survivors as well as preparing health facilities to continue operating in future storms.
“Dr. Rivera brings more than 25 years of experience in public health that will guide our health programs on the island going forward,” said Americares Senior Vice President of Global Programs Dr. E. Anne Peterson. “She has a deep understanding of what it takes to successfully implement life-changing health programs and we are excited to have her lead the Puerto Rico team.”
Prior to joining Americares, Dr. Rivera worked for the Puerto Rico Department of Health as state epidemiologist from 2013 to 2016 and also served as the Zika Response incident manager. Additionally, she served as guest researcher at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dengue Branch.
Dr. Rivera also has extensive academic experience, having served as an associate professor at the Ponce School of Medicine and as a professor in the Veterinary Technology Program at the University of Puerto Rico School of Health Professions.
“It is with great humility that I join the fiercely dedicated members of the Americares family, and I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to continue to help advance the belief that a healthy environment, a healthy community—benefits all,” said Dr. Rivera. “I look forward to continuing to grow Americares footprint in Puerto Rico in support of the well being of my fellow islanders and the greater Latin American community.”
Since the September 2017 storm, Americares has delivered $40 million in aid, including medicine and medical supplies, for Hurricane Maria survivors in Puerto Rico and Dominica. In addition, Americares has trained more than 2,700 health workers and emergency responders throughout Puerto Rico to cope with stress and trauma.
Dr. Rivera earned a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Iowa State University and a Master of Public Health from the University of Iowa. She also completed fellowships in Applied Field Epidemiology and Pediatric Environmental Health at the University of Puerto Rico.
Americares responds to approximately 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishes long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to vulnerable communities. The organization has a long history of responding to emergencies including the 2010 Haiti earthquake, the 2014 Ebola outbreak and, most recently, Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Florence and Michael.