About Us

About Us

EMERGENCY is an independent and neutral humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in Italy in 1994 to provide free-of-charge, high quality medical and surgical care in countries affected by war and poverty.

EMERGENCY runs over 60 hospitals, clinics and first aid posts around the world. All medical facilities are designed to last for generations. Patients are guaranteed entirely free, high-standard medical and surgical care without discrimination. EMERGENCY’s experienced international staff provides national staff with in-depth on-the-job training, with the goal of handing over medical facilities to local health authorities as soon as sustainability is achieved.

EMERGENCY USA was founded in 2008 and is a member of an international network that supports EMERGENCY’s healthcare projects through advocacy, fundraising, and recruitment of medical staff.

International network

EMERGENCY USA is an independent, non-profit organization with 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the IRS. Our Federal EIN is 26-3321828.

Meet Our Founder

Gino Strada was born in 1948, and graduated as a surgeon from the University of Milan. After working in hospitals in Italy, South Africa and the US, Dr. Strada left a lucrative career to serve as a war surgeon. He worked for the International Committee for the Red Cross (ICRC) from 1989 to 1994 in eight countries including Bosnia-Herzegovina, Pakistan and Somalia.

In 1994, he and his wife Teresa founded the NGO EMERGENCY. While Dr. Strada spent most of his time abroad performing surgery at EMERGENCY facilities, Teresa managed EMERGENCY’s administration and developed the organization’s support base in Italy, where it now has 4,000 volunteers. Following Teresa’s death in 2009, the Stradas’ daughter Cecilia assumed the post of President of EMERGENCY.

Having experienced first-hand the civilian casualties and human misery brought by wars and landmines, Dr. Strada has taken an unwavering moral position against the root causes of war. EMERGENCY helped ban the production and use of antipersonnel landmines by Italy.

“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”. The acknowledgment of this principle “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world.”

Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"Paris, 10 December 1948, Article 1 and Preamble"

EMERGENCY believes

Healthcare is a basic human right.

Therefore, EMERGENCY supports the implementation of medical projects according to the principles of equality, quality, and social responsibility.

“War cannot be humanized. It can only be eliminated..."
Albert Einstein

How We Work

Providing free, high-quality medical and surgical care

EMERGENCY works in areas of active armed conflict- where civilians bear the burden of war- and in communities with limited or no access to healthcare. EMERGENCY provides all care free to anyone in need of assistance.
EMERGENCY’s approach goes beyond the provision of basic medical care, as we believe every human being has the same right to access high-quality healthcare. We run surgical centers, offer access to specialists, and adhere to high standards of care.

Care we provide:


Building healthcare infrastructure

Many of EMERGENCY’s programs are in conflict and post-conflict regions, where healthcare facilities have been destroyed through war and lack of investment. By building or renovating hospitals, EMERGENCY contributes to the healthcare infrastructure, to the livelihoods of local communities, and ultimately helps to strengthen healthcare systems and foster sustainability.

  • hospitals dedicated to war survivors and surgical emergencies
  • physical and social rehabilitation centers
  • first aid posts (stabilization and referral centers)
  • primary healthcare centers
  • pediatric clinics and hospitals
  • maternity hospitals
  • outpatient clinics and mobile clinics for migrants and underserved communities
  • regional specialty hospitals
Training medical professionals

In our hospitals we give great importance to the training of local staff as doctors, nurses and midwives. This is because for us providing treatment also means fostering expertise in the countries where we work. Indeed, our objective is to hand over our hospitals to national staff and authorities as soon as self-sustainability can be achieved. In addition to medical training, we also run vocational training programs for individuals who have been maimed or left without social and financial support due to war.

By working with national health ministries to provide training and supporting local communities, we help ensure that we are fostering individual agency and empowerment.

About Our Team

Board Members

Larry Crickenberger

Board President

Larry has worked as an administrative law judge, attorney and as Vice President-Senior Account Executive at Fidelity Investments in Burlingame, CA. His community involvement spans organizations concerned with hunger, wildlife, the environment and LGBT rights. He previously served as treasurer and vice president of Independent Living Resource Center in San Francisco and is a graduate of the University of Virginia (BA) and New England Law School (JD).

Kyler Hunter

Board Vice President

Kyler is a perfusionist focusing primarily in adult cardiac surgery in Los Angeles. He has participated in humanitarian cardiac surgery for adults and children in public hospitals in Perú, Uganda, Ghana, Ukraine, Brazil, India and The Salam Centre for Cardiac Surgery in Sudan. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from the University of North Florida and a Master’s degree in Pharmacology & Toxicology from The University of Arizona, where he also completed his training as a perfusionist.

David Sandry

Board Treasurer

David is a CPA, and a managing director for a large public accounting firm in San Jose, California. David has over 15 years experience working with clients including non-profits, public and private technology companies.

Amira Resnick

Board Secretary

Amira is a non-profit management professional with ten years of cross-cultural experience in project management, staff development, and community engagement. Highlights of her career include coordinating international partnerships in a foreign higher education institution, managing program implementation and family engagement with 17 bilingual Head Start centers, and facilitating professional development and organizational change management with out-of-school time providers to create healthy environments for youth.

Courtnay Robbins Bragagnolo

Board Member

Courtnay Robbins Bragagnolo is a photographer based in Los Angeles. Her primary focus is documenting social and humanitarian issues, working with non-profit organizations to create visually compelling storytelling. Courtnay’s photography has been published both locally and internationally.

Jill Rickman

Board Member

Jill is a consultant in the public sector focusing on workforce development, learning, and strategic communication. Previously, Jill was the senior manager of training operations for a large telecommunications company. Her community involvement spans organizations concerned with leadership, education, and social justice. She is a graduate of the Miami University (BA) and Duke University (M.Div).

Nafisa Abdullah

Board Member

Born and raised in Kabul, Afghanistan and earning her medical degree from Kabul University, Dr. Nafisa Abdullah is an Ob/Gyn who has extensive experience in Endocrinology and Infertility. Nafisa spent decades of her career at West Los Angeles Kaiser, brought her expertise to numerous hospitals in Afghanistan and is dedicated to aiding the most vulnerable civilians impacted by war: mothers and infants.

Richard Berman

Board Member

Richard Berman is Director of the Patel College of Global Sustainability, Visiting Social Entrepreneurship Professor at the MUMA College of Business, and a Courtesy Professor at the Institute for Innovation & Advanced Discovery at the University of South Florida, Tampa, FL. A recognized global leader in health care education and management, he has consulted for the Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, McKinsey & Company, and the government of Rwanda.


Lara Jacobson

Interim Executive Director

Dr. Lara Jacobson is a pediatrician and epidemiologist with experience in humanitarian emergencies. During her work at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Lara responded to humanitarian emergencies in Haiti, Kenya, Djibouti, Chad, India, and Nepal. She is a published author of scientific journal articles on infectious diseases and public health interventions. Lara is a graduate of Harvard University (AB) and Stanford Medical School (MD), and completed her pediatric training at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Daniel Rosenblum

Director of Development

Daniel is a seasoned non-profit professional with 16 years of experience in fundraising and organizational leadership. He began his career as a journalist, working as a foreign correspondent for Thomson Reuters in Tokyo, Hong Kong and New York. He then served as the Vice President at the Japan Society in New York, where he created and managed the Japan Earthquake Relief Fund. Most recently, Daniel led iEARN-USA’s international education efforts as Executive Director.


Barbara Kramer

Volunteer Grant Writer

Barbara Kramer is an experienced marketing professional and grant writer who has raised money for medical treatment and research including, a laboratory involved in gene therapy research, ICU apparatus for victims of burns and other trauma, a center for the treatment of post-traumatic stress in children and adolescents and training for doctors in the use state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. She has traveled widely in Africa, Asia and Europe and the Caribbean.

Erin Penney

Social Media Intern

Erin is an English major at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She has served as a staff writer for the Arts & Entertainment section at the Emory Wheel, and is a “social media monster.” Erin aspires to be a television writer after graduating this year.


Gianna Van Winkle

Nonprofit Professional & Founder of Heartbeats Unlimited,
New York City, New York

At 20 years old, I underwent heart surgery to repair my mitral valve. That experience changed my outlook on life, gave me a renewed sense of purpose, and fueled my passion for helping others. I was made aware of EMERGENCY's life-saving work through the Open Heart documentary on patients of the Salam Center. Just like I was, these patients were given a second chance at living a healthy life with a functioning heart, a chance to fulfill their purpose.

Mohamed Kosia

Management Consultant and EMERGENCY Supporter,
Washington, DC

I was born in Sierra Leone, and visited EMERGENCY’s hospital when I returned to Freetown in April of 2015. When I learned that all the services provided to patients were free and even prescriptions were filled at no cost  . . .I was blown away. Sierra Leone went through 10 years of brutal civil war, and then Ebola came and wiped out the gains-- with the economic slump and increasing poverty, EMERGENCY gives us hope on the medical front.