At the age of 7, Mascha Davis and her family became political refugees, fleeing the former Soviet Union and settling in the United States. Shaped by this experience and having traveled while growing up, Davis was drawn to helping people in impoverished areas. She earned a master’s degree in public health and became a registered dietitian, working in a clinical setting until 2010.
That is when Davis pursued a long-held dream of working abroad — first in Switzerland, then in Africa, where she worked in international development and humanitarian aid. For five years, Davis worked with nonprofit organizations in South Sudan, Chad, Darfur, Ethiopia and Gabon.
Spending most of 2015 in South Sudan, her tasks ranged from coordinating delivery of aid supplies, managing and training staff, and performing nutritional assessments. “We were running nutrition centers that treated about 2,000 malnourished children each week,” Davis says. “It was difficult and frustrating at times, but it was one of the most impactful experiences I have ever had.”
While living in a remote area of Chad, Davis and her staff implemented long-term development projects in local villages. In Darfur, she focused primarily on developing nutrition projects for the prevention of malnutrition.
“Living and working in some of the least developed countries in the world has been very humbling and has opened my eyes to the importance of those in our profession using their expertise to impact the lives of people around the globe,” Davis says. “We have the capacity to make a huge difference.”
In 2016, Davis returned to the United States and launched her private practice, Nomadista Nutrition, in Los Angeles. She continues to work with the United States Healthful Food Council, Satellite Healthcare and several nonprofit groups.
“I believe every single one of us has a role to play in making a positive influence on the world,” Davis says. “It’s up to each of us to discover what that role is and to take action.”