About us


Welfare Foundation was founded in 2000 as a non-profit, non-governmental organization by a group of Georgian professionals who hold postgraduate degrees in various areas of health and social sciences from some of the leading schools such as Harvard University, New York University, Emory University and others. Our board and staff members have extensive experience in international development assistance, health care and social research, policy analysis and program implementation. We have decided to join our efforts in order to establish a Georgian institution with international reputation, a new center of excellence that is focused on the most sensitive areas for the vulnerable population such as health care, poverty and social welfare. Before joining WF, our staff members had gained significant practical experience through working at various UN and multi-lateral and bi-lateral development agencies and international organizations such as World Health Organization, World Bank, Gavi, Oxfam, and many others. As independent technical consultants, we have carried out numerous technical consulting assignments for various donors and other agencies.

The board

The Board of the Welfare Foundation is headed by the Chairman of the Board and is composed of five members coming from the public and private sectors who work for local and international development and health care organisations. Members of the board are elected for a five year term and the current board will serve from 2020 till 2025. Board meetings take place once a year to evaluate past year’s performance and provide strategic direction for the next year and set targets for the future.

Members of the Board

  • Professor Zurab Kevanishvili MD, PHD, is a Chairman of the board and is a member of Georgian Academy of Sciences. He is head of Georgian Center of Audiology and Rehabilitation and is a famous Georgian researcher and neurophysiologist and author of many scientific papers and publications.

  • George Katsitadze MD, PHD. George is a graduate of Emory University and a practicing pediatrician at Pediatric Partners of Gwinnett in Atlanta, GA, since 2003. He has been recipient of many prestigious awards, including “America’s Top Pediatricians” in 2014 and 2015 and has been a speaker at numerous international conferences and is an author of several medical books. Besides his clinical work he is actively involved in telemedicine, health quality improvement and autism related projects both nationally and internationally.

  • Bakhuti Shengelia MD, MPH. Bakhuti is Executive Director of Global Policy and Healthcare Systems at Novartis, Switzerland. He has 20-year experience in global health, in WHO and World Bank where he worked on health system performance assessment and led health sector reforms in many countries. He has also led the Health System Strengthening & Immunization Financing Unit in Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization. He has Masters degree in Health Policy & Management from Harvard School of Public Health.

  • Lasha Kalmakhelidze is a Doctor of Medicine and graduate from Tbilisi Medical University. He is a practicing surgeon and leads Department of Surgery in one of the leading Georgian hospitals – “MediClub Georgia”. He has started his career in Georgian Center of Surgery and has worked in Hamer Smith Hospital in London, UK. He has supported the Welfare Foundation in implementation of number of health projects.

  • Miranda Akhvlediani is a certified Lawyer and Human Rights Specialist and holds a MD degree and PHD degree in Law. She is one of the leading legal specialist at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Eastern European Region. She has also worked in Georgia Public Defender’s Office for many years and as health rights ombudsmen at the Welfare Foundation.

  • Our team

  • Simon Gabrichidze is an Executive Director of the Welfare Foundation. He is a medical doctor and a Master of Health Management and a Master of Development Studies from Heidelberg and Erasmus Universities. He is also a member of academic faculty of the University of Georgia. His previous experience includes Regional Coordinator for UNAIDS Technical Support Facility for the Caucasus and Turkey, and Coordinator of Medical Programs at the Ministry of Defence of Georgia. Simon has extensive experience in the management of large-scale projects funded by international donors.

  • Esma Imerlishvili is a medical doctor with a Master in Epidemiology. Currently, she is engaged in the research related to sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is an invited lecturer at Batumi State University. Esma works as projects coordinator at our organization.

  • Giorgi Gagua is a public health specialist with particular focus on infectious diseases and epidemiology. He is an author of several scientific articles and a member of various scientific societies. Giorgi works as a part-time consultant at our organization.

  • Irakli Katsitadze is Public Health and UN certified project management specialist holding Master’s Degree in Public Administration from New York University. He has more than 20 years of working experience in health and international development sectors in Georgia and abroad. He is responsible for project management aspects in Welfare Foundation.

  • Ivane Kevanishvili, MD, MBA is head of “Japaridze – Kevanishvili Health Clinic” in Tbilisi, Georgia. He has extensive experience in managing private clinics and is author of number of public private partnership models in health care sector. He is a finance specialist and is overseeing financial management aspects at the Welfare Foundation for the last 20 years.