Elen Costigan, MPA, MPH, is the SIPA Capstone Advisor to the project Protection, Human Rights, and
Health for Migrants in Mexico and Central America. She is a Doctoral candidate of Public Health (DrPH)
in Epidemiology at Columbia University through the department of Forced Migration, and her interests
center around promoting community engagement and the intersection of health and human rights.
Elen has over fifteen years of experience working in humanitarian action and public health, including 10
years with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in various emergency settings in
the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea Bissau, Haiti, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Mexico and Honduras.
After years of managing emergency response interventions she focused on training MSF teams around
the globe in Mexico, El Salvador, Honduras, Colombia, Nigeria, Sudan and South Sudan. In addition to
emergency response, Elen has also worked with the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee
(IASC) and with grassroots nonprofit organizations in Central America, managing humanitarian and
public health programs. She led research initiatives with the micro-finance organization FINCA
International, working with large-scale data and population surveys. Most recently she worked as Lead
Epidemiologist for the COVID-19 response in Guinea Bissau, working with the International Organization
for Migration (IOM), MSF and the Ministry of Health.
Elen holds a triple BA/BS in Political Science, Economics and Spanish Literature from Ohio State
University graduating Magna Cum Laude, with Honors and Research Distinction. She holds dual Master
of Public Administration (MPA) degrees from the London School of Economics and Columbia University
for which she was Awarded the Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. She further holds a Masters in Public
Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from Harvard University. Elen is dual citizen of the US and Brazil and is
fluent in English, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Swahili and Tok Pisin