Danielle N Butin, MPH, OTR-Founder, Executive Director
Danielle Butin, MPH, OTR is the Founder and Executive Director of the Afya Foundation, a medical supply recovery organization located in Yonkers, NY. Since its inception in late 2007, Afya has shipped several hundred 40-foot containers packed with recovered humanitarian and medical supplies to more than seventy countries globally. In 2014, the New York State Senate recognized Ms. Butin as a Woman of Distinction for her role in using local medical resources and volunteers to promote global health. In 2017, she was presented with the Woman of Distinction Award from the City of Yonkers.
The Afya Foundation dedicates itself to the support of on-going health missions worldwide and is an unstoppable force in the realm of disaster relief. Afya’s prompt and effective response to the 2010 Haiti earthquake provided short-term assistance to acute conditions and later evolved into a network of rehabilitative medicinal clinics that are still in use. Ms. Butin was honored by the Greater New York Hospital Association for Afya’s comprehensive involvement in Haiti.
The Afya Foundation’s approach to aid is not just swift, but efficacious. In 2017, after a tempestuous hurricane season compromised living conditions throughout the Caribbean, several relief organizations found their efforts stymied by challenging distribution conditions and ineffectual communication. Meanwhile, Ms. Butin, drawing upon her ebullience and knack for human connection, bypassed these frustrating circumstances to address the situation with Afya’s characteristic fervor.
In Puerto Rico, this response was made possible by a direct relationship with local doctors. Rather than ship containers to highly congested ports, Afya, with the support of generous donors, chartered more than twenty flights to the island. Once there, supplies were passed to doctors, who travelled to even the most rural parts of the island to establish clinics and provide care. Ms. Butin later parlayed this network into a relationship with Puerto Rico’s Prosecuting Attorney, Rosa Emilia Rodriguez Velez, who had established a task-force to investigate the conditions of nursing homes and assisted care facilities post-Maria. Afya subsequently directed significant attention and resources to the care of elders throughout the island.
Afya centers local community and empowerment as the backbone of its work. In its international efforts, Afya takes the lead from doctors and clinics to make sure that patients are receiving care and support tailored to their unique needs. Afya does not operate on a “one-size-fits-all” aid agenda – it rather relies on communication and trust in local leaders to provide custom and comprehensive relief packages.
In placing the community at the forefront of its work, Afya has established several programs to aid people in the New York area. Many such programs draw upon Ms. Butin’s background as an occupational therapist. In 2010, Ms. Butin was awarded the Eli Lilly Welcome Back Award for Afya’s special pre-vocational programs for at-risk populations, which provide the opportunity for local men and women to work on skill-development at the Afya warehouse with Occupational Therapy students. In 2011, Ms. Butin received the Lamed Vavnik Award from the J-Teen Leadership in New York for Afya’s educational and volunteer programs for high school students, and she is frequently invited to lecture at college campuses to discuss medical waste recovery. Afya provides engagement opportunities to local folks of all ages and backgrounds, to build community at home while supporting health abroad.
In 2015, Ms. Butin’s leadership role in the Ebola Relief efforts in Sierra Leone was recognized and awarded by Voices of African Mothers and at the Clinton Global Initiative annual meeting. In 2015, she also received the Brava Smart CEO Award. Ms. Butin’s story and Afya’s incredible work has been featured in Real Simple Magazine, MORE Magazine, Family Circle Magazine, on the Katie Couric Show and on Good Life Project radio. The Afya foundation has been covered by national sources such as The New York Times and the Washington Post, various initiatives have been highlighted by local news sources.
Before starting the Afya Foundation, Ms. Butin was the Director of Health Services for the East Region of Senior and Retiree Services for United Health Care. In this role, she provided health service leadership for the East Region of the Medicare line of business, which served approximately 300,000 Medicare Members in NY, Ohio and Rhode Island. Prior to her role at United, Ms. Butin was the Manager of the Health Promotion and Wellness Department at Oxford Health Plans, which served approximately 80,000 Medicare members in NY. In the Medicare Division of Oxford Health Plans, Ms. Butin developed a number of innovative health screening, self-management, and wellness programs. Ms. Butin has received national recognition and awards for her leadership in the development of health education programs and materials. She served as a board member for the National HMO Workgroup on Care Management for 8 years and continues to serve on the advisory board for Practice Change Fellows, a grant sponsored mentoring program to develop national leaders in geriatric care.
Ms. Butin received her Masters in Public Health with a specialization in Geriatrics and Gerontology at Columbia University and her B.S. in Occupational Therapy from New York University. She is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University.