Kelly Saldana has 25 years of experience in international development and health, including infectious diseases and nutrition. She worked in many regions of the world while serving in senior roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). She has worked with public, private, and non-profit sectors and communities. She represented USAID on interagency and international advisory committees and expert groups involving health systems strengthening. Beginning in 2021, Saldana also served as the strategic programming lead for the agency’s COVID-19 response and programmed $6 billion from American Rescue Plan funds to help end the COVID-19 pandemic.
Saldana will lead technical solutions and approaches on international development projects and proposals, providing thought leadership on systems strengthening and resilience across Abt’s portfolio. She will focus on innovation and integration of all areas of Abt’s expertise. Saldana brings a systems lens to designing solutions that are scalable and responsive to client needs and ensures project-implementation quality.
Saldana came to Abt from USAID, where she has held increasingly senior roles in the Bureau for Global Health, culminating with her position as director of the Office of Health Systems. In that role, she advanced health systems globally by shifting the focus of efforts from inputs to outcomes and incorporating concepts of systems resilience into understanding of what makes systems strong. She articulated clear roles for and linkages among public, private, and non-profit sectors and communities and aligned these diverse parties toward common health systems outcome goals.
USAID leadership picked her to head several emergency initiatives. In addition to the COVID-19 response, she served as health sector representative for the Haiti Task Team backstopping U.S. government efforts in the wake of the January 2010 earthquake and subsequent cholera outbreak.
- Health systems
- Infectious disease
- International development
- Behavioral health
- Reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health