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Americares Names New Climate and Disaster Resilience Director

  • December 20, 2023
  • Climate Change
  • Elena Ateva leads the design and direction of innovative global programming that prevents or addresses the health impacts of climate change.

Stamford, Conn. – Dec. 20, 2023 – Americares, the health-focused relief and development organization, has welcomed Elena Ateva as its new climate and disaster resilience director.

In this new role, Ateva leads the design and direction of innovative global programming that prevents or addresses the health impacts of climate change. Americares climate resilience work ensures health providers and clinic staff serving low-income and uninsured patients have resources to protect the most vulnerable patients from hurricanes, wildfires, flooding, extreme heat and other weather events intensified by climate change.

“With more than 15 years of proven experience executing mission-driven programming in the health and human rights space, Elena is an incredibly valuable addition to the organization,” said Americares Senior Vice President of Programs and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Julie Varughese. “She will be instrumental in advancing and expanding our climate and disaster resilience work globally.”

Ateva oversees the strategic direction of Americares growing portfolio of climate resilience and preparedness programs, including the Climate Resilience for Frontline Clinics Toolkit and the Climate Health Equity for Community Clinics Program—both collaborations with the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard Chan C-CHANGE).

Prior to joining Americares, Ateva served as deputy director of heat, health and gender at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht-Rockefeller Foundation Resilience Center, which focuses on individual and community climate resilience. During her tenure, she successfully developed an organization-wide strategy integrating gender and health into the center’s climate adaptation work and oversaw its implementation globally.

Prior to that, Ateva worked for the White Ribbon Alliance for seven years, where she held a number of leadership roles including senior advocacy and communications manager, and maternal health advisor for the USAID Health Policy Plus project, among others. During this time, Ateva developed a new portfolio for the organization focused on the impact of climate change on reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health. She also worked to position the impact of climate change on women’s health in influential global forums and fostered collaborative partnerships with diverse stakeholders in the nonprofit and humanitarian aid sector. Ateva also worked as an advocate for respectful maternity care and researched gender-based violence as a consultant for the American Refugee Committee.

“The people most affected contribute least to climate change yet are the first to experience its devastating impacts,” Ateva said. “I am committed to prioritizing their health needs through climate resilience and health programming at Americares.”

Americares is No. 9 on Forbes 2023 list of Top 100 Charities and a four-star rated charity—the highest possible—by Charity Navigator, America’s largest independent charity evaluator.

Americares helps communities prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters; increase accessibility, availability, affordability and acceptability of medicine and medical supplies; improve and expand clinical services; and prevent disease and promote good health. Since it was founded more than 40 years ago, Americares has provided $22 billion in aid to 164 countries, including the United States.

Ateva earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and German language from Luther College. She also holds a law degree from Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

Ateva, who lives in Bethesda, Md., speaks English, German, Russian and French, in addition to her native Bulgarian.