Health Policy and Ethics Speakers

Meredith Walsh, MPH, NP-C

Meredith Walsh recently completed two years as Country Director for Community Partners International (CPI) where she led CPI’s operations and programs with Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Meredith started her career in the Philippines with the U. S. Peace Corps in 2000, spending three years training teachers to improve English teaching and assisting local doctors and midwives in reproductive health and family planning activities for rural communities. In 2005, Meredith moved to the Thailand-Myanmar border where she spent the next four years working as a Technical Advisor for Reproductive and Child Health for the Mae Tao Clinic and the Burma Medical Association. In 2009, Meredith completed a Certificate in Registered Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing. From 2010 to 2017, she worked in primary care at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester, MA. During this period she co-founded and led the Worcester Refugee Access Project (WRAP), an organization that assists refugees from Myanmar in Worcester to achieve self-reliance through mentoring, advocacy, and material support.

Jeffrey Ashley, DrPh, MS.Ed, MS

Dr. Jeffrey Ashley has over 28 years of strategic leadership, international public health, development, and humanitarian aid experience. He joined the foreign service and USAID in February 1995 and retired as a career member of the senior foreign service, rank of Minster Counselor in November, 2018 after serving as Senior Development Advisor to the Commander of the United States Southern Command in Miami, Florida. During his career, he served on the faculty of the National War College at National Defense University for 3 years beginning in 2013 and also has had assignments to include mission directorships for USAID in Sudan, the regional East Africa mission located in Nairobi, Kenya and Yemen in Sana’a. He also held senior assignments as senior USAID deputy mission director in Afghanistan, and representative on the provincial reconstruction team in Kirkuk, Iraq. He has held chief health posts in Indonesia, Kenya, Angola, Cambodia and the Mekong countries and Tanzania, and served on humanitarian aid missions with non-governmental organizations during the civil wars in Nicaragua and Angola, and in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Paraguay from 1990 to 1992. Dr. Ashley is specialized in international public health. His areas of expertise are strategic planning, civil-military cooperation, complex humanitarian emergencies, stabilization, and development, monitoring and evaluation and mentorship, training and teaching.

Janet Kasper, LBSW 

As East Texas Regional Administrator of Governor Abbott’s Child Sex Trafficking Team, Janet Kasper collaborates with a variety of public and private stakeholders across the southeast region to ensure the continuum of survivor care established in the region is functioning with the guiding principles of trauma-responsive, victim-centered, collaborative and continuously improving. Additionally, Janet expands the geographic boundaries of the regional model to include research-based prevention programs as well as long-term services to build resiliency in survivors of child sex trafficking. Prior to joining the Child Sex Trafficking Team, Janet served as the director of a resource/drop-in center for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, as the Social Services Director of The Salvation Army-Montgomery County and as a Conservatorship Worker for The Department of Family and Protective Services.

Janet graduated from the University of Houston-Downtown with a degree in social work. Janet is a licensed social worker who continues to deliver direct services to those in crisis, providing her with first-hand knowledge of the challenges one face when experiencing a life-altering crisis and the skill set necessary to support them toward healing and empowerment. This continued experience further enhances Janet’s ability to provide strong leadership at the macro level in the efforts to build effective support systems throughout the East Texas region.