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Our Leadership Team


Walter Lam

President and CEO

Walter Lam was born and raised in Northern Uganda.  After finishing high school in Uganda, he attended Egerton University in Kenya where he graduated in Agricultural engineering. He immigrated to the U.S. in 1986 and resettled in San Diego, California.

Upon arrival to the US, Walter recognized that there were no programs available to address the needs of African refugees in San Diego. Thus, in 1989, he founded the Alliance for African Assistance with the purpose of helping fellow refugees from Africa, and in no time the organization was open to various programs not only for the refugees from all around the world, but also the community members.

Observing the refugees' medical issues and the need for a medical clinic, Walter founded Alliance Health Clinic in 2007 and immediately the clinic started providing medical services to all community members. In addition to the US Headquarters, Alliance for African Assistance is now an international organization with offices in Italy, Kenya and Uganda.  

Walter has served on various boards including:  the Rotary Club of San Diego, the California Refugee Health Advisory Board, the California State Advisory Committee for Refugees, the California Refugee Forum, the Community Building of United Way, the Prostate Cancer Community Advisory Committee of the Scripps Cancer Center, and the Inter-Group Relationship Advisory Committee of the San Diego Foundation. He was also a member of Mayor Dick Murphy’s African American Advisory board, a member of the city of San Diego International Affairs board, the Heartland Human Relations, Fair Housing Association board, and the Christian Community Foundation of Southern California. 

    Walter is currently on the board of the Quench and Connect.  He is a recipient of the United Way of San Diego Ben Polak Award of Excellence, Rotarian of the Quarter and           special congressional recognition, special recommendation of City of San Diego, California Legislature Assembly Recognition, and has been highlighted as a prominent refugee by     the      office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).


Simin Khadivi

Health  Clinic Administrator

Simin started as the Accounting Manager with Alliance for African Assistance in 2007.  In 2008, She began her work with Alliance Health Clinic where she has closely worked with the Christy’s Place on identifying and case management for those with HIV+ . Prior to her work with Alliance, she worked in various organizations including the UCSD Health Plan, as the Capitation Manager and 
the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, Iran country office, as the Finance Officer.  Simin holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Tehran University. She studied Managerial Accounting at University of California, San Diego and Health Data and Information Management at San Diego State University graduate School of Public Health. She also studied Clinic Leadership at UCSF  funded by the Blue Shield of CA Foundation, and she was also a member of the Alumni committee at the Clinic Leadership Institute Health Leadership program. Currently she works as the Contract Administrator and Administrator for Alliance for African Assistance and Alliance Health Clinic.


Jimmy Dervishi

Director of Resettlement

Albania Tirana University, Department of Economics - Master in Business, Italy Milano - Bachelor in Computer Science, Executive Director Bank of Albania, Chairmen of the Project of Issuing the New Albanian Banknotes, Chairmen in the work group for the foundation of Tirana Stock Exchange, Albania  Secretary of the Treasury
BIA accreditation since June 2009, also has Finger Printing license from Department of Justice since April 2014 and the Custodian of Record for Alliance For African Assistance since August 2016.


Dr. Suzanne Afflalo

Director, Alliance Health Clinic

Dr.Suzanne Afflalo is a Family Physician, who was born in  Kingston, Jamarca, worked at Kaiser Permanente for 23 years and retired in 10/2015.     She  received her medical degree from George Washington University School of Medicine in  Washington  DC and completed her Family Medicine Residency at Kaiser Permanente MedicalCenter in Los Angeles.

Dr. Afflalo has served as Chief of the Family Medicine  Department for 6 years; held the SCPMG Professional Staff President position for 3 years and has  taught many medical students and residents as an Associate Faculty at UCSD Medical School  since 1994. She has also served on numerous committees  during her 23 years at Kaiser Permanente. Below is her resume:

Education Undergraduate:                     Loyola Marymount University Los Angeles, Calif BS in Biology 1979-1983

El Camino College

Torrance, Calif

        Sign Language/Interpreting Program

1979- 1983     

Graduate School:              

George Washington University

Washington, DC.

1983- 1985

Medical School:

George Washington University    School of Medicine, Wash, DC.

1985- 1989 


                         Kaiser Permanente Medical Center                                                      Dept of Family Medicine                                  Los Angeles, California

1989- 1992


Dipti Fernandez

CEO - AAA-Kenya

Dipti’s career started in tertiary education to manpower and capacity building of personnel and organizations.    Through recruitment, training and management consultancy at Cresco Skills Development Ltd her passion is to ‘Develop People.   Believing that every individual has an inherent capacity to either enter the world of work or become an entrepreneur.    Her passion stems from the philosophy of ‘Work Integrated Learning, Student Centred Learning, Teaching the Practice of Management through case pedagogy, and ISO standards.
Previously, she has served both in the tertiary education sector at the Australian Studies Institute and United States International University – Africa.   She pioneered the 1st international conference in 2018 titled ‘Igniting the employment revolution in East Africa’ in collaboration with high level delegates from the South African Society for Cooperative Education - SASCE, Policy Makers from the Ministry of Higher Education – Kenya and South Africa, USIU-Africa and Kenyan counterparts.   She holds an MBA from USIU and has continuously applied various professional qualifications from, Gordon Institute of Business Schools – SA, AUSI, Bureau Veritas and the South African Institute for Objects Conservation.   She is a friend of the Rotary Club of Nairobi and a member of the Kenya Quilt Guild and SA Guild of Objects Restorers and Conservators.

Alice Lam.jpg

Alice Lam

CEO - AAA-Italy

Alice Lam has been a truly valued member of the Alliance for African Assistance family for over six years. Alice initiates, organizes, and promotes new programs for our staff, members, and volunteers.


Okello Openy

Executive Director - AAA-Uganda

With a keen belief in Alliance for African Assistance,  Okello Openy is committed to changing the world. There really couldn’t be a more dedicated Executive Director, and we’re so happy to have Okello Openy as part of the Alliance for African Assistance team.

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