Karel R. Amaranth, MPH, MA

Karel Amaranth has dedicated her professional life to the health and well-being of women and children. Her 25-year career in the not-for-profit sector has focused her considerable artistic, creative and executive skills on supporting positive change in the lives of families.

A through-line in Karel’s career is her commitment to strengthening vulnerable populations: In addition to directing Bronx-based not-for-profit home care agencies, she has served as executive director for the national Women’s Action Alliance, executive director of the Butler Child Advocacy Center and director of Victims Assistance Services in Westchester County, New York.

In addition to managing not for profit operations and development, Karel has been active in health policy. In 2005, she co-authored landmark New York City legislation requiring review of child deaths.  She has served on a national Expert Child Death Review Panel that was engaged to review the deaths of children in Nevada and make recommendations that dramatically changed the social services, health care and investigative interventions in that state.  She currently serves on the Westchester County Child Fatality Review Team.

In 2007, Karel was given the opportunity by Montefiore President Spencer Foreman, MD to conduct an intensive study of women’s hospitals across the United States.  Traveling from Boston to San Diego to Baton Rouge to Washington, DC, Providence, Rhode Island, Niskayuna, New York to Pittsburgh, she met with hospital CEOs and staff and researched the history, services, financial plans, payer mixes and patient demographics of each hospital for a comprehensive report.

Karel has hosted many foreign visitors who have been guests of the United States Department of State.  In return the Department of State has arranged visits for her at healthcare facilities, governmental offices and social services agencies in Bogotá, Colombia, Prague, Czech Republic, and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

A sought-after guest lecturer, Karel travels nationally and internationally to research, advise and speak on child advocacy. She has presented at the International Conference on Victimology in Montreal, Canada, the International Conferences on Child and Family Maltreatment in San Diego, California, and the International Congresses on Child Abuse and Neglect in Hong Kong, China, Tampere, Finland, and Belfast, Ireland among many other venues.  During the summer of 2011, she was the teaching assistant for the Einstein College of Medicine Global Health course at St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai, India.  Karel has presented at several conferences focused on victims services, including the National Organization of Victims Assistance in Jacksonville (2019) and Orlando, Florida, (2021) and the National Center for Victims of Crime, National Training Institute in Atlanta, Georgia (2021).

Karel is the co-founder of the Mama Kits Project Holistic Care for Mothers in collaboration with the Rotary of Makindye in Kampala, Uganda.  The project, which distributes birthing kits (clean birthing supplies) donated by the Birthing Kit Foundation Australia, works with women’s groups in rural areas of Uganda to reduce maternal and infant mortality.  The project has delivered more than 10,000 kits to women.  Karel visited Uganda to work on the project with the Rotary leadership in June 2014 and again in January 2017, traveling to rural areas of the country visiting women’s groups, health facilities and schools.  Karel has also continued her work in Maternal and Child Health  by serving as a consultant to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx Healthy Start developing the Fetal/Infant Mortality Review Team (2019).

In 1998, Karel developed ground-breaking Victims Impact sessions in the Westchester County Department of Corrections Men’s Facility. With the purposes of increasing the understanding of restorative justice and the impact of crime on victims, perpetrators, families, and the community, the program was highlighted in an article in the New York Times http://www.nytimes.com/2000/12/03/nyregion/the-law-confronting-inmates-with-the-impact-of-their-crimes.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm.

With the reinterpretation of the Victims of Crime Act in 2016, to include victims’ services to people who are incarcerated, Karel included therapists and advocates, as well as a hotline in alignment with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.  Karel is currently a consultant to Just Detention International, facilitating Art Workshops (Growing Within These Walls) at two New York State Corrections Women’s facilities.

Karel has a Bachelors degree in English and Creative Writing and a Master of Arts degree in Fine Arts and Art Therapy.  She completed a Masters degree in Public Health writing her thesis on an innovative project to address maternal mortality, which became the foundation for the Mama Kits Project in Uganda.  She traveled to Makwanpur, Nepal, in November 2010, shortly after graduating from New York Medical College to work with the women’s health empowerment project, MIRA, and explore opportunities for implementing the birthing kit project.  In 2017, Karel was inducted into Delta Omega Public Health Honor Society after being nominated by the Deans and Faculty of New York Medical College.

Karel enjoys bike rides along the Hudson River, vigorous tennis matches and “working obsessively in my garden and pond,” she says.  Her three daughters are her perpetual inspirations. “I’m very passionate about everything I do,” she says. “And that keeps life balanced” and enables her to develop innovative health initiatives, for some of our world’s most vulnerable populations.  In 2020, Karel married her long time love and best friend, Kurt Eric Nystrom

3 Comments (+add yours?)

    Jan 04, 2016 @ 16:53:06

    Dearest Karel,
    I found a beautiful photo of you at the Big Dish restaurant. Do you remember? We
    have so much to reminisce about. I love to see you again. Your so beautiful and you”ve done so much with your life.


  2. Kayitarama Godfrey
    Jan 27, 2017 @ 10:02:41

    Hi Karel. Very beautiful profile. If u find time, follow the Rotary club of MAkindye on face book at https://www.facebook.com/MakindyeRotaryClub/


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: