Sandra McGirr

Executive Director

Sandra supports all facets of the Community Health Project working directly with her Spanish/Quechua nurses to develop and deliver health services and health education programs that are culturally sensitive and relevant to Andean communities. Additionally, Sandra coordinates all aspects of visiting medical teams and the training of nursing staff and qhalis.

Sandra’s exposure to the health challenges in Andean communities inspired her to develop DESEA’s first health care program. Sandra developed the community health worker (qhali) training program that has yielded unprecedented results, bringing the mortality rate in implemented areas from levels higher than the national average to zero since its founding. This success is thanks to an innovative approach that leverages art and storytelling rather than literacy as primary training methods.

Sandra has extensive experience in public health, health promotion, and illness prevention education, disciplines which are the focus of her work with DESEA. She has worked for over 30 years in expanded-practice community nursing, mainly in remote indigenous communities for federal and provincial governments in British Columbia and in northern Canada’s Nunavut territory.

Sandra completed a BScN in Nursing at McMaster University (Ontario, Canada) in 1987 and a Masters in Nursing (with a Global Health emphasis) at Athabasca University (Alberta, Canada) in 2010.