Member Biosketches


Nicholas A. Robins, Ph.D., is President of the Environmental Health Council, and a Teaching Associate Professor in the Department of History at North Carolina State University Dr. Robins holds a Ph.D. in Latin American Studies from Tulane University, and is the author or editor of over a dozen books concerning Latin America, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. A former ORISE Fellow at the Environmental Protection Agency, he is also the recipient of two Fulbright research awards and is the founding president of the Bolivian Studies Association.

Enrique Ecos Lima, MD, is a Peruvian physician specializing in epidemiology and environmental health. Based in Huancavelica, he has worked throughout Peru and in conjunction with UNICEF and PAHO on the control of transmissible diseases and the eradication of polio. Dr. Ecos has served as the executive director of the Regional Hospitals of Ica and of Huancavelica and has advised government and non-government organizations on issues relating to occupational diseases, cholera and polio. He has also organized and led numerous training courses on topics ranging from environmental health to the monitoring of intra-hospital infections.

Bryn E. Thoms, RG, is an environmental geologist/project manager at Oregon Department of Environmental Quality specializing in cleanup of mercury and arsenic-contaminated mine sites. He has a Bachelor’s degree in geology from Oregon State University has been the project manager of several abandoned mercury mine cleanup projects in Oregon has twelve years of experience implementing a variety of mercury assessment and cleanup methods. Recently, he has been involved with arsenic bioaccessibility assessment methods to better understand risk to residents living on mine tailings.

Rubén Darío Espinoza Gonzales, MA, is an archaeologist and anthropologist with extensive experience working in the Huancavelica region. He has worked on the identification and preservation of colonial mercury smelters in the city of Huancavelica, and in numerous educational and cultural initiatives there. Fluent in Quechua and Spanish, Mr. Espinoza Gonzales is the author of Una vision de la Arqueologia de Huancavelica among other articles. A member of numerous Peruvian professional organizations, he regularly participates in conferences and workshops concerning archeology and cultural patrimony.

Susan Halabi, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biostatistics, in the Department of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, at Duke University Medical Center. She is also the Faculty Statistician of the Genitourinary Committee for the Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored cancer cooperative group. She has extensive experience in the design, conduct, and analysis of scientific studies in oncology, and in the preparation and interpretation of related articles and in epidemiologic studies.

Franciscus Van den Hout has over thirty years of experience in the design, development, implementation, management and supervision of community development projects in the areas of public health, education, micro-enterprise and skills development in Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. He has extensive knowledge and experience in financial analysis, regional budget management and reporting for programs funded by foundations, multilateral and government organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development, the European Union, the United Nations and the government of Holland. He is skilled in conducting audits, and has extensive experience concerning all aspects associated with the establishment of field offices, including logistics, legal issues and personnel matters.

Rodrigo A. Zogbi, MA, JD, holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Universidad Mayor de San Andrés, in La Paz, Bolivia, a Juris Doctor degree from the Universidad Católica de Bolivia, and has over fourteen years of experience in the design and implementation of social development programs in the public, non-governmental and international cooperation sectors. During this time he has served as the director of the Bolivian Vice-President’s Citizenship and Democracy Initiative, in which he has organized and led a ‘national dialogue’ to unite divergent interests and forge a broad-based consensus on national development goals. In addition, he worked closely with international donors to implement a series of institutional reforms concerning education, food security and infrastructure projects in Bolivia.

Olivier Barras is an expert in culturally-informed community education concerning urban and peri-urban heavy metal contamination, and an expert in the integration of environmental and cultural considerations in urban planning processes. He has successfully applied this research in Potosí, Bolivia, where he is based, utilizing culturally relevant approaches to educate community members and stakeholders concerning environmental health in urban and recently established peri-urban areas. In addition, Mr. Barras led an artisanal mining contamination risk assessment and mitigation project for the French organization Doctors of the World (MDM). In addition, Mr. Barras has worked with the Bolivian Strategic Research Program (PIEB) to study the behavior, beliefs and attitudes of miners and their families concerning the health risks from mining contamination. Mr. Barras is fluent in French and Spanish, and also speaks English and German.

Ingrid Tapia Montecinos de Barras, MS., is an environmental health specialist who holds a Master’s degree from Geneva University’s Institute for Development Studies, where she studied Andean community organization. In addition, she holds a Master’s degree in intercultural health from the National Autonomous University in Mexico. Based in Potosí, Bolivia, Ms. Tapia Montecinos is fluent in Spanish and French, and also speaks English and Quechua. As a professor at the PIEB University of La Paz, she has taught courses on intercultural health research methodology and educational ethnology while mentoring indigenous researchers from Potosí. As a key member of the Potosí Ecological Society and the Rural Development Group, she gained extensive experience in the planning and supervision of development programs concerning environmental issues, Andean community economics, women’s issues, conflict resolution, indigenous rights, and community outreach. As the leader of the child and adolescent health education initiative in Potosí of Doctors of the World (MDM), she was also responsible for the planning, outreach, implementation and interinstitutional coordination of intercultural and environmental health projects.