Our Staff

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 (she/her) is the Engagement and Advocacy Director for NSRH, and has over 10 years of grassroots organizing experience in racial, gender, sexual, and economic justice. She first started organizing as a student at Arizona State University where she co-founded a transnational feminist Fair Trade initiative working with a Zapatista-identified cooperative in Juárez, Mexico. She then joined the statewide fight against Arizona’s SB1070, also known as the racial profiling law. Cassandra earned her MS in Community Development from the University of California, Davis for work documenting social justice activism in the Arizona Borderlands. Previously, she 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. She is based in Phoenix, Arizona.

 

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 healthcare, 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." She is based in our home office in Saint Paul, MN.

 

Makina TableDirector of Professional Development 

Makina (she/her) is a public health advocate, educator and childbirth doula with more than 8 years of experience in sexual and reproductive health programming, policy and promotion. Originally from Memphis and raised in Atlanta, Makina is committed to centering reproductive justice, intersectionality, and ensuring health equity in all communities. Prior to joining NSRH, Makina managed non-patient stakeholder engagement strategies for the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) and delivered capacity building programs to HIV/AIDS treatment providers with the American Psychological Association. Most recently, she spent more than two years as an Organizational Development Specialist in rural Mozambique, working and serving alongside nurses and traditional midwives in maternal healthcare, malaria and HIV/AIDS prevention. Makina earned a bachelor’s degree in African-American Studies and Chemistry from Howard University and a Master’s degree in Public Health from George Washington University. She is based in Atlanta, GA and is an independent collaborating member of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance.