Meet The Team That Makes Things Happen

Ariel Rojas, MS, MA


Ariel founded Transdiaspora Network in 2007. As an interdisciplinary cultural entrepreneur with more than 15 years of experience in the fields of mental health, HIV/AIDS, counseling and youth development, Ariel has in-depth knowledge of the Caribbean and Latino communities in the New York metropolitan area and their cultural nuances. He emigrated from Havana, Cuba, to the United States in 2000 as the first young Cuban researcher to be unanimously awarded Vassar College's Latin American Culture Fellowship, in the Hispanic Studies Department. Ariel holds a Masters degree in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University, and a BA in Psychology and a Masters in Social Psychology from the University of Havana. He has earned Master-level credits at Columbia University with a concentration in Social Enterprise Management, where he presented an independent research entitled "Cross-cultural Study of HIV/AIDS and Preventive Strategies." For his leadership, his innovative and entrepreneurial effort, and his social commitment to raise HIV/AIDS awareness, Ariel is the recipient of the New York State Department of Health Commissioner's Distinguished Service Award provided by the AIDS Institute. Publication: Article "Enabling Culture for Effective Responses to HIV/AIDS" (Real Life Times Newspaper, January Issue, 2014).

Paula Madrid, PhD

Executive Associate

Dr. Paula A. Madrid is a New York State Licensed Clinical Psychologist in private practice in New York City. Dr. Madrid’s practice focuses on professional consultation, a wide-range of evaluations, and treatment. She is also presently a fellow at the Harvard Program for Refugee Trauma (HPRT) and is on the faculty of HPRT’s Global Mental Health Program. Dr. Madrid is an adjunct faculty at the National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP) of Columbia University, where she served as the director for the Division of Psychosocial Preparedness and Associate Research Scientist for several years in addition to holding a part-time private practice in New York City. Dr. Madrid has a wide range of experience in clinical, academic, and hospital settings all of which have resulted in a keen ability to understand complex cases both clinical and organizational and to approach evaluations in a rigorous manner, utilizing the most relevant psychometric scales and assessment techniques. Dr. Madrid founded and directed the Resiliency Program, a 911 clinic, while also serving as the director of the psychosocial preparedness division of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She was appointed the Director of Mental Health Services for “Operation Assist,” a joint initiative by the Children’s Health Fund and Columbia’s NCDP to lead an initiative involving the development of three mental health programs, hire staff, supervise teams, train professionals and oversee the functioning of three clinics that are still in existence in Biloxi (MS), New Orleans, and Baton Rouge (LA). Dr. Madrid has consulted to and participated clinically and managerially in post-disaster/conflict work including 2004 Madrid bombings, Colombian anti-terrorism campaign, post-tsunami relief work in Port Blair, Andaman Islands, post-hurricane in Texas, Florida, Louisiana, and consulted to professional organizations after multiple disasters. She is a peer-reviewer for publications such as Pediatrics, Global Public Health, Professional Psychology: Research and Practice and most recently for the Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC).

Nicole Cheng

Liaison, TDN Cross-cultural Youth Exchange Scholarship

Nicole is a student at Stuyvesant High School and is a part of the National Honor Society, which is devoted to the four pillars: leadership, character, service, and scholarship. Nicole has dedicated her life to human rights initiatives, as well as the advancement of the globe. Her award-winning Toshiba Exploravision entry has been acknowledged for its innovation and potential benefit for the world. In addition, she has been a part of the Stuyvesant Ethics Initiative, which sought to break cultural barriers within communities. Nicole has gone out to the Navajo Reservation in Arizona to reach out to its disadvantaged minority, caring for and nurturing those in need. Her affiliation with the United Nations, as well as Model United Nations events, has helped her gain a deep understanding of the issues that arise locally, and also internationally across the globe. Nicole continues to participate in charity events all over the city through Stuyvesant’s division of Key Club International, endorsed by the renowned Kiwani family, and Red Cross, a volunteer group. As she continues to make changes for the better, the world will always wake up to a better tomorrow. After 8 months acting as TDN Youth Affairs Coordinator conducting health promotion workshops among peers and innovatively assisting in the expantion of our curriculum platform as well as attending the 2015 NGO Conference at the United Nations, Nicole was promoted to the post of TDN Cross-cultural Youth Exchange Scholarship's Executive Liaison. Under the umbrella of our organization, she is the leader of our global initiative transforming the organizational narrative of goals and objectives into a youth-led action plan. Nicole engages her cohorts by acting locally, but from an interconnected and transcending forum. "What is different about TDN is that we do not merely focus on the science of HIV/AIDS – we deal with it from the primitive level, which involves human expression and the internalization of how to prevent HIV/AIDS."

Dr. Anil Kabrawala, M.D.

Senior Consultant Physician

Anil earned a degree in Neuroscience at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, with a focus in health sciences. There, he was able to build community through various fundraisers and events. After college, he decided to pursue his dream of becoming a physician. He enrolled at St. George’s University in Grenada, West Indies. In Grenada, he continued to reach out into the community by arranging several health fairs in order to provide basic preventative medicine and medical screening to the local citizens. He also provided care and assistance to the abused and neglected children of two orphanages in Grenada. After medical school, he enrolled into a residency training program in Internal Medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, NY. He has traveled widely throughout Europe and Asia, and one day plans to open up free health care clinics around the world. He is now a GI Fellow at SUNY Downstate, Brooklyn, one of the nation's leading urban medical centers. From the moment he joined our team, Dr. Kabrawala has participated in community health fairs, has co-authored several articles and has refined TDN health promotion model.

Jonathan Zacks

IT & Digital Strategist

Jonathan received his BA in Computer Sciences from Vassar College in 2002 and has over a decade of experience in the IT field as a tech, programmer, web designer and A/V consultant. He oversees the organization’s IT and digital procedures, and puts out all technology fires to increase the visibility of our work. He divides his time between helping Transdiaspora Network and running Mac Help NYC, where he brought together a network of like-minded consultants to form his IT solutions team. Together, they provide full service technology consulting to the greater New York City area. During his time with the organization, Jonathan has been invited to career events at local high schools, where he empowers students to be more proactive in the use of technology as a tool to positively impact their life and their own communities.

Yetive Hidalgo, MS, PHR, SHRM-CP

Associate Consultant / UN Women's Major Group Representative

Yetive obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Nova Southeastern University and Master’s in Human Resources Management from Florida International University, Chapman Graduate School of Business. She has over ten years of experience working with Miami-Dade County Government. Her areas of expertise include community outreach, family and child development services, and social services programs administration. She has coordinated, participated, and served as the speaker/representative at numerous Community Events and Conferences thought Miami-Dade County with the purpose of providing a bridge between families, government leaders and policy makers. Yetive is passionate about improving the quality of life of populations in need in her community, through creating opportunities for learning, professional and personal development, with a special interest in children and youth. Yetive is a Certified Professional in Human Resources from the Human Resources Certification Institute and the Society of Human Resources Management, and a Certified Child Care Resource and Referral Specialist through the State of Florida’s Child Care Aware of America.