WHO WE ARE

Mission & Vision
The Gbomai Bestman Foundation Inc. is dedicated to improving the health and well being of mothers and children through pre and postnatal care, nutrition, child healthcare, family planning, and health education to reduce maternal and child mortality rate in West Africa, Liberia.

It is our vision to provide free, simple, and comprehensive health care to new and expectant mothers in the rural areas of Liberia that is comparable to standards in more advanced countries so that socio‐economic class is not a barrier to good health; where child mortality is on the steady decrease, whereby giving each child the opportunity to live beyond 5 years of age.

Through our mission and vision we hope to empower the women of Liberia to make their health a priority, to ensure the safe delivery and healthy start of Liberia’s future leaders.


Our Founder

Gbomai Bestman | gbomaib@gbomaibestmanfoundation.org

Gbomai Bestman‐Johnson is a graduate of Howard University in Washington, DC, having earned a Bachelor of Science In Health Sciences with a concentration in Health Management . In 2001, she launched Compassionate Nursing and Health Care Agency (CNHCA) as an entrepreneurial venture in the organization and management of health services. Recognized as a top tier Nursing agency, CNHCA is experienced in staffing medical facilities, nursing homes, and private homes, based in the heart of downtown Silver Spring, Maryland.

In the 1980s, she moved to the United States as a young expecting mother, in pursuit of higher education because she understood the correlation between education and success. Honing her innate sense of strength and resilience, she worked her way through college while her beloved country, Liberia, was torn apart in the midst of a senseless and brutal war. Gbomai struggled to reconcile her separation from family members still in Liberia with her acculturation into American society. However, the dark reality of the conditions in Liberia quickly set in when she was informed of the death of her mother and brother. Grief stricken, her father suffered from a stroke shortly afterwards. As a resident alien of the United States, unable to offer physical consolation to family members, all she could do was rely on eyewitness accounts of the displacement and suffering of those living through the 1989 massacre. It took bold determination and great audacity for her to make the strides she has to become a successful entrepreneur. Channeling the strength of her late mother, who withstood the perils of female inferiority that highlighted Liberian culture in the 70s and 80s, Gbomai found her source of inspiration. Through courage and perseverance, she embarked on an education at Howard University as a single mom and began a career in the health sector.

As she was once a young, single mother, she is all too aware of the shame and resentment that can accompany unplanned motherhood. She understands that society places a stigma on adolescent mothers, which when internalized, could become detrimental to their will to preservere and future successes. Yet she encourages these mothers to be audacious, and often times defiant, of the status quo that attempts to stifle their potential.

She established The Gbomai Bestman Foundation a commemorative venture, altruistic in nature, to serve as a repository for the memory of her mother Izetta Roberts Bestman, the lost souls of Liberia’s massacre, as well to honor her personal trials and tribulations as a young mother. Most importantly, this foundation seeks to address the negligence of women in the rural areas of Liberia. She believes that it’s time to give back to the country that taught her life lessons as an adolescent, providing her with a keen understanding of the sacred bond of motherhood as well as a sound foundation of womanhood.

Gbomai is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, the Who’s Who Historical Society of Professionals, and the Entrepreneur's Organization. She is happily married to Bodger Johnson, also a graduate of Howard University and an entrepreneur. They have four beautiful children and live in Sandy Spring, Maryland.


The GBF Team


Nichole Bestman, Co Founder - Projects Director | nicholeb@gbomaibestmanfoundation.org

Nichole Bestman, a founding team member, identified her interest in Liberia at an early age. This identification allowed her to explore leveraging creative capacity with social good abroad in her studies at Howard University where she received a B.B.A in International Business with a Marketing concentration. Additionally, she studied at the Euromed Management, a United Nations Global Compact business school in Marseille, France. As the Business Development Manager at Compassionate Nursing & Health Care Agency, daily she works on building new business opportunities for the agency including the development of the agency's new business line, Compassionate Concierge.

Various forms of the arts, fashion, and humanitarianism have always inspired her. Couple with a hint of 'girl power' she has always admired in her mother, Gbomai Bestman, is inspired by 21st century women that exhibit such style and yet lobby for issues of substance. After working with various, non-profits including College Summit in DC and the Macdella Cooper Foundation, she was eager to join her mother in a nonprofit venture as Projects Director for the Gbomai Bestman Foundation. Through this position, she hopes to mobilize young women of her generation to give back to women like them across the globe, in the very country that has inspired her the most, Liberia. For the women that have been disappointed and overlooked by circumstances in Liberia, her dream is that they can echo one of her heroines, Eva Peron, that once said, “I know that, like every woman of the people, I have more strength than I appear to have,” and feel empowered to change their situation.

Nichole is a member of the Harvard Summer Venture in Management Alumni Association

Bodger Johnson, Interim Finance Director | bodgerj@gbomaibestmanfoundation.org



The Advisory Panel

Kelli Clifton, Advisory Panel

Kelli Clifton is a Senior Associate Advisor within the Surgical Profitability Compass at The Advisory Board Company. In this role, Kelli serves as the primary relationship manager for hospital executives and staff utilizing business intelligence applications to transform process improvement, physician alignment, and supply cost management. Kelli holds a Master of Health Administration from The Ohio State University and a Bachelor of Science in Public Health from The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Prior to joining The Advisory Board Company, Kelli assisted with the on-site development of a pediatric hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. As an Administrative Resident at Northwestern Memorial Hospital (Chicago, IL), Kelli implemented Six Sigma process improvement techniques to drive

physician engagement and satisfaction. Also, as an Administrative Resident at The Ohio State University Medical Center, Kelli investigated the productivity and financial provision of on-call compensation for specialty nursing.
Kelli was a two-time participant of the UAB Birmingham Health Administration Case Competition where she gained in-depth knowledge in the area of safety-net hospitals and physician alignment strategies. Formerly, Kelli was a Patient Relations Representative for The University of North Carolina HealthCare System where she closely monitored patient satisfaction and service recovery through Press Ganey.


Kelli has traveled to South Africa, Ghana, & Costa Rica where she researched and published works on the availability of mental health services to Apartheid, studied the effects of aflatoxin and other mycotoxins on West African agricultural crops, and the socio-economic benefits of eco-tourism within the Costa Rican rain forest and coastal region, respectively. Kelli is a published author in the Journal of LabAnimal: “Lack of Efficacy of Injectable Ketamine with Xylazine or Diazepam for Anesthesia in Chickens”, LabAnimal May, 2004.

Gbomai is very passionate about having Kelli join GBF as an advisor after they connected through the American College of Heatlhcare Executives.




Dr. Rigo Fraterne Muhayangabo, Advisory Panel

Dr. Rigo Fraterne Muhayangabo, a Congolese national, works in The Republic of Liberia as an expatriate doctor and Medical Coordinator via the International Rescue Committee (IRC) Kolahun. Aside from his duties as a general surgeon, he is also responsible for developing the monitoring and evaluation plan following the Ministry of Health and IRC indicators pertaining to primary and secondary health care in Liberia. Additionally, his role intersects with implementing various health initiatives and projects as dictated by the European Development Fund in the Kolahun, Voinjama, and Foya districts of Lofa County, Liberia.
 
Before his commitment to the IRC, Dr. Rigo resided in Sinoe County as the Surgeon and  Health Coordinator for Merlin-Liberia, where he coordinated the delivery of BPHS (Basic Primary Health Services) to FJGrante Memorial Hospital and 10 Merlin supported clinics, among other duties. 

As a medical doctor he has trained various hospital teams across continental Africa from the Congo, to Rwanda in the departments of HIV/AIDS, Malaria Control, Tuberculosis, and Quality Assurance, Paediatrics, and Internal Medicine. As a surgeon he has mastered the skill needed to perform various gynaecological and general surgeries. 
Dr. Rigo completed his undergraduate medical studies at the Bukavu Catholic University in 2004. He then obtained a complementary Master in General Surgery in Magenta, Italy. Further, he pursued a Master in International Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid at the Humanitarian International Aid Center in Proyecto Kalu, Spain. Recently he obtained a diploma in Public Health & Assessing Public Health in Emergency Situations at the Universite Catholique de Lovain in Belgium. 
Dr. Rigo speaks 7 languages that include French, Italian, English, Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, Swahili, and Lingala. Currently, Dr. Rigo resides in Kolahun, Lofa County. He is married with 6 children including triplet daughters.



Silvia CaswelL, Advisory Panel


Silvia Caswell moved from Brazil at the age of 13 and soon found a passion for the healthcare field. She obtained her Nurse Assistant certification at the age of 16 and began working in a rehabilitation facility, primarily caring for those with hip and knee replacements. After high school, she began working at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City, Utah, both as an inpatient CNA and unit secretary, spending 7 years in Maternity/Labor & Delivery/NICU, as well as Shock Trauma ICU. During this time, she completed her Associates of Science degree in General Studies with Honors from Salt Lake Community College, in which she spent part of her time doing Biogenetics research and moderating online prenatal support groups through ivillage.com.


Upon graduation, she transferred to the University of Utah and participated in research in Anthropological Genetics and volunteer work with the March of Dimes. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Medical Anthropology from The University of Utah, where she focused on improving healthcare practices in different cultural settings.

After getting married in 2005 and having 3 children, Silvia found her niche in health and fitness. She lost over eighty pounds and began working for Beachbody as a health and fitness coach. In 2015, she certified to instruct Insanity Live group fitness classes at local gyms. Her desire to improve health across populations became so strong that she obtained entrance into Campbell University School of Osteopathic Medicine (CUSOM) in Lillington, North Carolina, to pursue a doctoral Osteopathic Medical degree, and will graduate in 2019. She hopes to practice as double-boarded Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine physician, as well as obtain an in-residency Masters of Public Health degree. She is currently the President of the Lifestyle Medicine Club and is involved in developing a Lifestyle Medicine residency curriculum to be used across the United States through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine. She has also served as a project manager for community weight loss classes through CUSOM.

Silvia retains her membership through the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, American College of Preventive Medicine, and American Academy of Family Physicians. She enjoys sleeping (when possible!), working out, cooking new healthy recipes, playing board games with her husband and friends, watching cartoons with her kids, and eating cheesecake.


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