The Team

Lina Buffington, PhDExecutive Director 

Lina (she/her) is a “maker” with a love for clay and textile arts; this creative spirit informs her social entrepreneurship, which spans the non-profit and for-profit sectors. She believes that we must take a holistic and creative approach to our work if we hope to close the persistent equity gaps plaguing humanity. Lina is an experienced Program Officer, Executive Director, and Entrepreneur with over 15 years of experience developing and leading mission-centered organizations. While her diverse experience spans multiple sectors, they are all aligned within an unwavering passion for social justice and equity. In addition to her leadership experience, Lina has over 13 years of experience developing curriculum and teaching in institutions of higher education. Before coming to NSRH she co-founded the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative. Lina earned her BA in Philosophy from Spelman College and a PhD in Philosophy from Emory University. She is based in Berkeley, CA.

Cassandra BelsonDirector of Advocacy and Engagement 

Cassandra Belson (they/them) is the Engagement and Advocacy Director for NSRH, and has over 10 years of grassroots organizing experience in racial, gender, sexual, and economic justice. They first started organizing as a student at Arizona State University where they co-founded a transnational feminist Fair Trade initiative working with a Zapatista-identified cooperative in Juárez, Mexico. They then joined the statewide fight against Arizona’s SB1070, also known as the racial profiling law. Cassandra earned their MS in Community Development from the University of California, Davis for work documenting social justice activism in the Arizona Borderlands. Previously, they worked at Not In Our Town, a national organization that has worked for over 20 years to promote local organizing against hate and bullying via film, social media, and online tools. They are based in Phoenix, Arizona.

Anna Brown, TAC (Training in Abortion Care) Program Director 

Anna Brown (she/her/hers) is a Registered Nurse with a background in emergency medicine and abortion care. Since graduating from Augusta University's nursing school she has completed the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner Training and was a 2019 Erin J. Vuley Fellow at the Feminist Women's Health Center in Atlanta, GA. Anna currently works as a Forensic Nurse Examiner. She is passionate about advocating with and empowering nurses from all levels and backgrounds to have the tools, education, training and support to better serve our communities. 

Nikki DuffneyMembership Manager 

With over a decade of experience in membership management, Nikki (she/her) has worked in several different industries to grow association membership, increase engagement and improve retention. Starting her career at Independent Natural Food Retailers Association (INFRA) shifting to the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas (MRAA), Nikki is now excited to be involved in work at NSRH that aligns with her personal and professional values. She is a queer femme who lives with a disability and believes justice starts before harm is done. Nikki is committed to dismantling oppressive systems and has been an active participant in mutual aid, harm reduction and education in her local Denver, CO community.

In joining the NSRH team, Nikki brings with her a passion for building communities and connecting people to resources to support their goals. She is invested in fostering relationships that create lasting partnerships. Throughout her career she has and continues to value sharing best practices, gathering resources, and collaborating with communities to deliver on their needs.

Nikki graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Morris in business management with an emphasis in human resources. As a lifelong learner, she is always reading and participating in educational opportunities to advance her experience and expertise.

Annie ParrishOperations Manager 

Annie Parrish (she/her) is currently the Operations Manager at NSRH, responsible for a variety of program support, communications, technology, financial and HR tasks. Prior to joining NSRH in 2016, she worked at an organization that helps homeless people re/enter the workforce, two mental health nonprofits, and a public radio station. She also volunteered at the Minnesota AIDS Project for several years. Annie believes in the common good and that healthcare is a human right. She insists the 'healthcare umbrella' must cover sexual and reproductive healthcare, including abortion care, as well as humane mental healthcare services. She's known to quote her hero Paul Wellstone: "We all do better when we all do better." Annie earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics with a minor in English from the University of Minnesota. She is based in our home office in Saint Paul, MN.

Ariela SchnyerResearch Assistant

Ariela (she/her) is currently a student in UCSF’s Nurse Midwifery and Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner program, she is passionate about developing clinical providers and practices that are queer and trans affirming, social justice focused and evidence based. Prior to this program, she worked as a clinical research coordinator in sexual and reproductive health, helping to manage research projects around contraception, menstrual cups and abortion care. She believes in the power of research to inform care and also the importance of prioritizing self-identified community needs to reduce health disparities. Originally from Texas, she has lived in Massachusetts and Oregon and is familiar with the wide span of national experiences with sexual and reproductive health. She received her BA in Neuroscience and Behavior from Mount Holyoke College. She is currently based out of Oakland, California. 

 Sulianie MertusResearch Assistant

 Sulianie (she/her) is currently an Evaluation Analyst at the District of Columbia Public Schools. As an analyst, Sulianie is responsible for the planning, development, and coordination of the school-based HIV/STI prevention program’s evaluation and performance management plan. Sulianie has eight years of experience in applying social and behavioral science and public health practice to program development, research, and evaluation – with a more recent focus on school-based and adolescent sexual health. Sulianie earned a bachelor’s degree in Biobehavioral Health and a minor in Health Policy and Administration from The Pennsylvania State University. She also holds a master’s degree in Public Health from La Salle University and is a certified health education specialist. Dedicated to leading research and practice that address disparities limiting access to sexual health education and services in urban communities, Sulianie continues her educational pursuit as a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. 

Lily Acton, Membership Program Assistant

Lily Acton (she/her) is currently a graduate student at the Boston University School of Public Health, where she is working toward a master’s degree in Public Health with certificates in Community Program Assessment and Maternal and Child Health. Lily recently earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a minor in Hispanic Studies from Davidson College, where she was extensively involved with efforts to promote sexual health and reproductive freedom for all students on campus. At Davidson, Lily served as a peer sex educator, conducted research about global reproductive rights with a human rights organization, and worked with a local reproductive rights organization to advocate for expanded abortion access in North Carolina. Lily previously served as the Communications Intern for NSRH before starting her role as Membership Program Assistant. She is based in Boston, MA.