MedWish was founded in 1993 by Dr. Lee Ponsky. In the summer of 1991, Lee spent time on a medical compound in Ogbomosho, Nigeria, where he served as a surgical assistant. It was there he witnessed first-hand the obvious lack of medical supplies in developing countries. Prior to starting medical school in 1993, Lee was determined to help resolve this need, therefore MedWish was born in an effort to repurpose medical surplus that would otherwise be discarded.
Board of directors
Lee Ponsky, MD
Board President & Founder
Valerie Henderson, MPH, DSc
Board Vice President
Emergency Management Consultant
Ashley Wilson Baer
PSI Services LLC
Rafid Fadul, MD
& North Bridge Management
Prakash Ganesh, MD, MPH
Cuyahoga County Board of Health
Neighborhood Family Practice
Weisman, Kennedy & Berris
Joshua Miller, DO, FACP
Ponsky Capital Partners
Sheldon Rose, MD, RDMS
Brian J. Smith
Health Tech Development
OCTOBER 22, 1965 – MAY 1, 2023
MedWish International is deeply saddened by the recent passing of our Board Member, Michael Zweig. Michael was an incredible member of our family, first getting involved as a medical brigade volunteer on our 2011 Nicaragua brigade and again on our 2013 Guatemala trip. Michael joined the Board of Directors in 2013 and served as our Vice President for several years. He and his band, Disconnected, played at various MedWish events. He was a tenacious supporter of our mission and in many ways helped MedWish grow to where we are today. Michael was passionate about his family, his friends, music, and leaving an impact on the world, which he certainly did. He will be dearly missed.
Britta started her MedWish journey as a summer intern in 2009 and returned in 2013. She officially joined the MedWish team in November 2015 as the Director of Business Operations. In March 2018, she transitioned into the role of Associate Executive Director. In November 2021, Britta became the Executive Director, overseeing MedWish’s strategic direction and overall operations. Britta has a Master’s degree in Diplomacy and International Commerce with a focus in international development, a graduate certificate in global health, and a Bachelor’s degree in French and Religious Studies
Director of Operations
Jennifer joined the MedWish team in November 2017 as the Inventory Specialist at MedWish. In April 2018, she transitioned into the role of Humanitarian Aid Program Manager, and in 2020 she became Director of Operations. She directs the supply chain and day to day operations of MedWish, and leads our continuous efforts to improve the operational processes and efficiencies. Jennifer has a Bachelor’s degree from SUNY Stonybrook in Environmental Studies, with a concentration in waste management. Outside of work, Jennifer is an avid hiker, crafter, and reader.
Director of Development
Allison joined the MedWish team in December 2021 as the Director of Development. Prior to her arrival, she spent nearly seven years as the Alumnae Director at Saint Joseph Academy, an all-girls Catholic high school in Cleveland, OH. Before returning to her alma mater in 2015, she served as the Director of Disability and Accessibility Services at St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY. Allie holds a Master’s degree in Counseling and Human Development and a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training.
Natalie joined the MedWish team in September 2023 as a Procurement Specialist. Natalie holds a Bachelor of Social Work degree from The Catholic University of America and a Master of Public Health degree with a specialization in Global Health Administration from the University of Haifa. Her background is in medical social work, with a focus on refugee and migrant health. Prior to joining MedWish, Natalie completed health disparities research in Israel-Palestine. Outside of work, Natalie enjoys hiking, writing, and spending time with her friends and family.
Brian joined the MedWish team in February 2023 as Inventory Associate. Prior to MedWish, he spent nearly 2 decades in the screen printing industry producing t-shirts for the music industry. Outside of work, Brian enjoys making short quirky animations and motion graphics.
International Programs Coordinator
Jacob joined MedWish in August 2019. Jacob graduated from John Carroll University in May 2018 where he majored in International Relations and minored in Peace, Justice, & Human Rights. In 2021, Jacob became our International Programs Coordinator. In his role, Jacob oversees MedWish’s international aid efforts, while offering the best service to our recipients. Outside of work, Jacob enjoys table top and video games, music of all types, in addition to being a world traveler. His most recent journey was to the United Nations to participate in the “High Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals”. Jacob has also traveled to Europe and Japan.
Kelsey joined MedWish in June 2021 as the Business Specialist. Her duties include overseeing Human Resources and Finance. Kelsey holds a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences from Cleveland State University and volunteered at MedWish during college. Prior to joining MedWish, she worked in Quality Improvement with University Hospitals. Outside of work, she enjoys reading, traveling (two favorite trips were to Ireland and Thailand), and exploring Cleveland with her husband and daughter.
Rachael joined the MedWish team in August 2022 as Volunteer Coordinator. In this role, Rachael oversees our sorting process volunteer groups that help at MedWish everyday. Rachael graduated from Kent State University with a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology with a minor in Nonprofit Studies. Prior to working at MedWish, Rachael worked at a Nonprofit Summer Camp for 4 years. Outside of work, Rachael enjoys reading, walking, and watching reality TV.
Facilities & Warehouse Manager
Dresden joined the MedWish team in September 2016. In many ways, he is the face of MedWish for our hospital champions as he conducts our supply pickups in our MedWish truck and drives around much of Northeast Ohio on his routes. He also helps receive pickups into our warehouse and helps maintain the flow and storage of our supplies. Outside of work, Dresden enjoys tinkering with hobby electronics and computers. He also loves playing video games.
Local & Domestic Programs Coordinator
Dan joined MedWish in July of 2021 as Local & Domestic Programs Coordinator. In this role, Dan oversees MedWish’s Local & Domestic Giving Program, Skill Building Program, Alternative Recycling Program, and reprocessing efforts. After teaching for 32 years, Dan decided to re-shape his passion for volunteerism into a career at MedWish. Although he spent most of his career teaching biology and chemistry, Dan has also been teaching classes in Bioethics and Homelessness. Dan has also been the Director of Community Engagement at Hawken for the past six years, so he is eager to help strengthen our presence in the local community. An avid traveler, Dan has enjoyed trips to the American Southwest, Russia, Vietnam, Italy, Mexico and the Caribbean. Outside of work, Dan loves reading and working in the garden and is a competitive trail runner and mountain biker.
Local Programs Assistant
Portia joined MedWish in June 2023 as Local Programs Assistant. In her role, she assists our Local & Domestic Programs Coordinator in facilitating orders, reprocessing efforts, and other Local Giving Program needs. Portia is a regular volunteer with various nonprofits and is excited to continue putting her passion to work with MedWish. Portia plans to transfer to Cleveland State University to major in Filmmaking with the goal of, one day, making documentaries featuring underrepresented communities. In her free time, Portia enjoys reading, writing, knitting, collecting Transformers action figures, gardening, and spending time with her nieces and nephews by volunteering locally.
Marketing & Communications Coordinator
Jaelyn joined MedWish in September of 2021. In this role, her duties include management of all social platforms and other forms of communication with our MedWish community. Jaelyn holds a Bachelor’s in Communications from Cleveland State University. Outside of work, Jaelyn is a foodie who loves to travel, enjoying the delicious food every city has to offer. Jaelyn also enjoys reading and spending quality time with her friends and family.
Sara joined the MedWish team in November 2022. Prior to joining MedWish, most of her career has been in nonprofit fundraising, most recently as the Director of Development at Cleveland Hearing & Speech Center. During the pandemic, she had a short stint in the corporate sector. Sara holds two Master’s Degrees in Nonprofit Business Administration and Organizational Development. In her free time, she teaches yoga, spends time with family, volunteers with Cultivate Yoga, and loves going on walks with her dog.
Thorn joined MedWish in September of 2021. In this role, Thorn also helps maintain the flow and storage of our supplies. Thorn graduated from EHOVE Career Center in 2013 with a concentration in Culinary Arts but likes to try new things and is currently experimenting with carpentry. In his spare time, Thorn loves playing video games and making art that he hopes to, one day, be able to sustain himself in order to spend more time with his family, which currently includes his crested gecko, Carl, and cat, Bailey. Thorn, alongside his fiancé, loves to travel all over and they hope to explore outside the USA soon.
Warehouse Associate & Driver
Robert joined the MedWish team in July 2023. As a Lorain County native, Robert returned to Ohio after his Air Force tours in Alaska and Oklahoma to receive his B.A. in History and Secondary Education from Walsh University. He then spent three decades teaching history in various states across the U.S. and internationally in Birmingham, England, while also coaching Olympic freestyle wrestling. Currently semi-retired from both, Robert is having fun and keeping fit learning the nuances of wrestling a wide range of medical equipment on truck collections for MedWish. His hobbies are seasonal – growing fruits and vegetables during Spring and Summer and writing published articles and a book during Fall and Winter.