Who We Are

Board Members

  • Irina Jacobson, Treasurer
  • Antonina Kurtova
  • Irina O’Neill
  • Luba Wherry
  • Marina Ouano, Chairman/President
  • Sam Sokolinsky

We are 100% volunteer organization. Some of our volunteers are:

Irina Jacobson Irina Jacobson – Community Outreach, Houston: I was born in Moscow, and graduated from Moscow Pedagogical University with BA in Russian Language and Literature. In 1991 I moved to Houston, TX where I completed MBA in Finance (University of Houston, 98). Currently I work as a Manager of Financial Analysis for a leading Air Conditioning and Heating company and raise a 16-year-old daughter Nikki. In addition to supporting Advita Fund USA, I support a church in Moscow where my mother is a parishioner.
Antonina Kurtova Antonina Kurtova, Case Management: I was born and grew up in Leningrad Region, Russia. After graduating from St. Petersburg State University, I moved to Houston in 2007 and started working as a biologist at the Department of Leukemia, MDAnderson Cancer Center. Currently I’m a PhD student at Baylor College of Medicine focusing on translational biomedical research. While still at In St. Petersburg, I used to work at Pavlov State Medical University performing flow cytometry diagnostics of leukemia. Unfortunately, many of Advita Fund patients, children and adults, came through our lab. Being very familiar with all the problems of modern cancer healthcare in Russia, I really hope that Advita Fund USA will give these patients a chance. Chance for hope, cure and life.
vlad Vlad Litvinov, Treatment Abroad: My childhood was spent between three countries: Kyrgyzstan where I was born, Moldova where I was raised and Mongolia where my parents worked. I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Education and one in Economics, and was involved in a broad area of professional activity from teaching in a public school to working as a banking analyst. For the last few years, I have been also volunteering for a home-based hospice care in Toronto. All this experience gave me a good grasp of the needs of various communities which I am currently enhancing by working towards an MBA in Community Economic Development at Cape Breton University. As Advita Fund USA volunteer, I am in charge of the Patients from the former Soviet Union Program.
Marina Ouano Marina Ouano, Founder: Originally from Russia, I’ve been living in Houston, Texas since 1995. For the last few years, I volunteered as a translator for Advita Fund in St. Petersburg. Unfortunately, I saw that the fund had limited opportunity to support children with advanced stage diseases who had no further treatment options in Russia, but could be helped in countries with more developed healthcare system. This eventually led to the start up of Advita Fund USA.
Semyon Sokolinsky Semyon Sokolinsky, Online Media: I was born and raised in Leningrad (now St. Petersburg). In 1989, my entire family emigrated to U.S. and we settled in Baltimore, Maryland. I have received my Bachelor’s Degree in Finance from Towson University and recently completed an MBA program at University of Baltimore. I have been working as an Information Technology professional in banking industry for the past 10 years. Traveling to Russia since 2000 have made me realize how much help people really need in order to survive terrible diseases and receive the proper treatment they deserve. I started a search for a project to volunteer until I came across Advita Fund USA. Advita’s mission and success caught my attention right away. I strongly believe that Advita Fund USA will give patients life and happiness. I am glad to be a part of it.
Alla Polotskaia: Originally from Moscow, graduate of the Biological Dept of MGU. Worked for 15 years in Ali-Union Cancer Center in Moscow in cancer research.
At present time – Research Associate at Hunter College working in breast cancer research.
Elena Sviatova: I was born and raised in Nakhodka, a city in the Far Eastern part of the Soviet Union. I moved to the U.S. in 2000 and now live in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia with my family. I had close personal encounters with medical system in Russia and the United States and saw first-hand the huge difference between the levels of care and doctors’ training. Before joining Advita Fund USA, my main focus has been assisting children in Russia and Ukraine who needed urgent cancer treatment but could not receive it in their home countries.