Since 2006, the Golden Apple Award has recognized the members, volunteers, partners and supporters who make extraordinary contribution to the sustainability and effectiveness of Health Volunteers Overseas.




Anju Adhikary

Anju Adhikary, dental assistant and dental hygienist, became the HVO on-site co-coordinator at the Dhulikhel Hospital dental department in Nepal after receiving training from HVO volunteers in 2018. She was quickly identified as perfect for the role because of her excellent communication, educational background, interest in beginning a dental assistant training program, and the respect she had earned from her peers. She is currently working with Dr. Royann Royer on the new dental assistant project that HVO has initiated. They are currently creating the curriculum for a ten-week dental assistant training certificate program that will begin later in 2022 at the Dhulikhel Dental School. Ms. Adhikary will be presenting lectures and taking charge of hands-on training.

Ms. Adhikary holds a bachelor’s degree in humanities and arts, a master’s in political science, and in 2010 she graduated from Kantipur School of Dentistry with a certificate in Dental Science. In 2014, she participated in the training of forty students as Chair Side Dental Assistant. She entered her current position as dental hygienist and dental assistant at Dhulikhel Hospital in 2014.


Bhavani Chalikonda, MBBS

Dr. Chalikonda has been an HVO member and volunteer since 2020 and, over the course of nearly three years, has provided valuable training to PICU fellows at Angkor Hospital for Children in Siem Reap, Cambodia. Since November 2020, he has led over twenty virtual training sessions which have been instrumental in continuing these fellows’ education despite the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dr. Chalikonda began practicing pediatrics in India before moving to the United States where he completed formal training in pediatrics and pediatric critical care and moved into his current role as a pediatric critical care physician at Saint Peters University Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He volunteers not only with HVO, but also with International Children’s Heart Foundation, Gift of Life International, Operation Smile, and Mission Smile.


Robert Erdin, MD

Since joining HVO in 2019, Dr. Erdin has dedicated his time and expertise to the orthopaedics project in Tanzania both in-person and virtually. After seeing a need for long-term education opportunities for the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center, he forged a partnership with his orthopaedic group in the United States and established monthly virtual grand rounds and online case conferences with lectures and question and answer sessions. These online conferences, ongoing since 2020, have been so valuable that residents at HVO’s project site in Uganda have also begun attending and sharing.

Dr. Erdin received his MD from the Medical College of Georgia and completed his orthopaedic surgery residency and a foot and ankle fellowship at the Campbell Clinic in Memphis, Tennessee. He currently works as an orthopaedic surgeon for the US Department of Veterans Affairs.


Matthew Fisher, DMD

Dr. Matthew Fisher is a retired pediatric dentist specialist who has worked with HVO since 2018 to provide education and training to dental specialists in Nepal and Laos. After an in-person trip to Dhulikhel Hospital in Nepal in 2018, Dr. Fisher transitioned to virtual learning assignments in 2020 and 2021. In those years, he provided sponsorships that enabled many dental specialists  and students in both Nepal and Laos to attend a several virtual dental specialty conferences, something that would have otherwise been impossible. conference. He has also helped the dental department of Dhulikhel Hospital install an x-ray system.

Dr. Fisher received his BS in marine science and biology at the University of Tampa and his dental degree at the University of Kentucky. He completed his Advanced Dental Practice Residency at the Gallup Indian Medical Center and his Pediatric Dental Residency from the Baylor College of Dentistry.  He has also served as a Commissioned Officer in the United States Public Health Service, Indian Health Service for twenty-seven years. In addition to his volunteer work with HVO, he has also traveled to Nepal with Global Dental Relief and is on the board of The Small World USA, an organization that supports sustainable community development, empowerment of women and children through education, health care services, and other opportunities for villages in the rural Himalayas.


Annette Galassi, RN, MA OCN

Ms. Galassi has been an HVO member and volunteer for over ten years, and in that time has made six in-person trips with the oncology projects in Bhutan and Ethiopia as well as led two e-learning trainings for Bhutanese oncology nurses.  She now serves as a co-director of the oncology project in Bhutan where she has supported the introduction of training for a cohort of nurses in palliative care, a relatively new concept in the country. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and HVO’s transition from in-person to virtual learning, Ms. Galassi helped to organize weekly conferences for volunteers and nurses, preventing disruption in palliative care education.  Thanks to her assistance, a local nurse was given the opportunity represent Bhutan at the World Cancer Congress palliative care session. In addition to serving as a project co-director, Ms. Galassi is also an active member of the HVO Oncology Steering Committee.

Ms. Galassi was one of the first oncology clinical nurse specialists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the first oncology nurse practitioner at the Lombardi Cancer Center at Georgetown University Medical Center. She is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society and the International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care and has published numerous articles about oncology nursing, cancer control, and clinical trials. She is the recipient of a NIH Merit Award and was Georgetown University’s Nurse of the Year.


Brian Hollander, DMD

Dr. Hollander has served as HVO’s project co-director for the oral health project in Nepal, as well as a member of the program’s steering committee for nearly ten years. In that time, he has helped shape and build the project alongside partners at Dhulikhel Dental School and Dr. Hollander received a Golden Apple Award in 219 in recognition of his contribution to this partnership. The oral health project in Nepal was one of the first active e-learning sites in 2020, and Dr. Hollander’s exceptional ability to adapt in the face of the unique challenges presented by COVID-19 was essential to keeping educational programming undisrupted. Under his direction, volunteers provided over twenty virtual lectures in the first year alone. The strong partnerships Dr. Hollander forged with his Nepalese colleagues smoothed all necessary transitions and set up the move to online education for success.

After several years of traveling, working, and volunteering in a variety of countries around the world, Dr. Hollander settled in Kathmandu, Nepal where he spent nearly thirty years living and practicing dentistry before returning to the United States in 2009. He then worked in Alaska as a public health dentist until his retirement in 2021, and continues to reside there.


Dashrath Kafle, BDS, MDS

Dr. Kafle has served as HVO’s on-site coordinator for the oral health project in Nepal since its inception. This is the second Golden Apple Award he has won for his dedication to the partnership between Dhulikhel Hospital and HVO. He has welcomed volunteers and made sure their expertise is best utilized, ensuring that visits and virtual trainings are well-organized and effective. He was quick to address the unique challenges COVID-19 posed to continuing education, working closely with HVO to set up virtual learning opportunities for his students and HVO volunteers. Under his supervision, volunteers presented over twenty virtual lectures in the first year of the transition to e-learning. Most recently, he has been working with HVO volunteer John Kanyusik on hosting monthly case seminars between the residents at Dhulikhel Dental School and the residents at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Kafle’s willingness to adapt and the strong partnerships he has cultivated with HVO volunteers have ensured the success of the project in unusual and difficult times.

Dr. Kafle worked in several roles at Dhulikhel Hospital for over sixteen years, including his current positions as a clinical coordinator, professor, and head of the department of Orthodontics. He has written and contributed to twenty-seven research articles which have been cited in seventy publications. He is the chief editor of the Orthodontic Journal of Nepal.


Murray Kesselman, MD, FRCPC

Dr. Kesselman volunteers with the Cambodia pediatrics project where he has been instrumental in continuing the education of residents and clinicians during the turmoil of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the fall of 2020, he has conducted over forty-five virtual training sessions for the Angkor Hospital for Children and is known for being friendly, open-minded, and available for discussion as needed. In collaboration with a local pediatrician, Dr. Kesselman set up weekly sessions for trainees to discuss topics in their PICU curriculum, as well as to provide guidance on difficult cases.

Dr. Kesselman received his medical degree from the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg and is currently an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics & Child Health at the University of Manitoba. He is recently retired as a pediatric intensivist, but continues to provide sedation services and care for children on long-term ventilation. He is actively involved in a number of associations including the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, of which he is a founding member in pediatric critical care. In addition to his volunteer work with HVO, Dr. Kesselman has served with Operation Smile for fifteen years.


Stephanie Murphy, MPA, CPA

Ms. Murphy serves as Treasurer of the HVO Board of Directors. In this role she has worked tirelessly with HVO on financial management, investment policy, strategic planning, and audit oversight. She exemplifies the very best of HVO volunteers with her dedication, commitment, diligence, and generosity. Ms. Murphy helps HVO’s board and staff not only keep up to date on financial matters, but also understand the complexities of accounting, counseling and teaching with never failing patience. When the COVID-19 pandemic changed the face of international volunteering, Ms. Murphy was right there to guide HVO through difficult transitions and challenges.

Ms. Murphy is a Financial Planner and the Director of Operations with ClearLogic Financial in Reston, Virginia. Prior to her current role, she held positions as the Chief Financial Officer for a national trade association and for Global Impact, an organization of which HVO is a member. She received her master’s degree in public administration and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from George Mason University. Her volunteer work extends beyond HVO. She has also been the volunteer treasurer for her local civic association, her son’s Boy Scout troop, and a local philharmonic organization.


Royann Royer, RDH, MPH, CDA

Ms. Royer has volunteered with HVO’s oral health project in Nepal both in-person and virtually since she became a member in 2017. During her first trip, her work with the dental assistants led to four-handed dentistry being used in the school as well as the improvement of both x-ray technique and infection control. It was such a success that she and HVO’s on-site coordinator decided to launch a training program for dental assistants. Along with partners at Dhulikhel Dental School and the Nepal Dental Science Hygienist Association, Ms. Royer and local dental hygienist Anju Adhikary are finalizing the curriculum for a dental assistant training certificate program that will begin later this year. They plan to begin with virtual lectures.

Ms. Royer is the founder and director of Healthy Smiles Forever, a nonprofit that provides dental treatment for long-term care residents in Anchorage, Alaska. Previously, she spent over twenty years as a faculty member in the dental hygiene program at the University of Alaska, Anchorage and often still makes appearances as a guest speaker. She is currently a member of the American Dental Hygienists Association and the International Federation of Dental Hygienists. In addition to her service through HVO in Nepal, she has also volunteered in Russia and Mexico.


Rebecca Turkel, PT/DPT, CEIS, CEIM, IBE

Dr. Turkel is the project director for HVO’s physical therapy project in Malawi. In 2018, she accepted an appointment as a lecturer at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in the Department of Physiotherapy. This dual role gave her a unique perspective and enabled her to have a far-reaching impact on the department. She created a well-organized pediatric module that will continue to benefit students many years into the future. During her time in-country, more than eighty students graduated with degrees in physical therapy and are now employed at government hospitals. Additionally, she worked closely with HVO on two key initiatives of primary interest to the department – first, she assisted in the creation of a new program in speech and language therapy, and second, she supported the update of the strategic plan for the newly created Department of Rehabilitation Sciences. Both activities involved the sustained input of experienced HVO volunteers who were working remotely due to COVID-19.

Dr. Turkel serves in many roles, among them as a licensed physical therapist and a certified early intervention specialist. She received her master’s degree from Tufts University in child development and a doctoral degree in physical therapy from MGH Institute of Health Professions. She has returned to the US with her family, but continues her service as an Honorary Lecturer at the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences in Blantyre, Malawi.


Richard Wise, MD

Dr. Wise has been a dedicated volunteer in HVO’s internal medicine project at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital in Kampot, Cambodia for seven of his ten years of volunteer work through HVO. In his many years of traveling to Cambodia, he offered educational support in the areas of family and general medicine by delivering lectures, holding case discussions, and providing bed-side teaching. In part as a result of his guidance, twenty students have graduated from the family medicine program at Sonja Kill Memorial Hospital and have gone on to become practicing physicians in the hospital or in the community. Beginning in 2020, Dr. Wise made the transition to e-learning and has continued to host lectures and assist the development of the new internal medicine curriculum. When the World Telehealth Initiative donated a telehealth device to the hospital in partnership with HVO, Dr. Wise was the first volunteer pilot. He has also provided financial support for the department’s training program. He has been instrumental in increasing physicians’ knowledge in a variety of internal medicine areas as well as supporting the development of a diabetes clinic. Thanks in part to his support, the hospital is now known for its exceptional care for patients with chronic non-communicable diseases.

Dr. Wise is a board-certified internal medicine specialist. He received his medical degree from the University of Minnesota and completed his residency at Oregon Health and Science University. He currently provides coverage as needed for COVID-19 at Kaiser Permanente Northwest and served as a volunteer COVID vaccinator in 2021. He is also a facilitator for a first year medical student course on physical exam skills.


Yangden, BSN

Yangden is a clinical nurse in the home-based palliative care program at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan. She started her career as a midwife, and in 2018 was appointed head of the country’s first palliative care service. She now leads a team of four nurses in this nascent program. She developed the proposal for introducing palliative care at her hospital, as well as a nationally used palliative care training manual for health care professionals all over the country. Yangden’s hope is that one day the home-based care program will expand into a palliative care department with a multidisciplinary team and specialist training.

Yangden has been instrumental in building the training program in palliative care for nurses in Thimphu, Bhutan. Her leadership and commitment have been key to the growth and success of this project in the face of unique challenges posed by COVID-19. Early on, she established the necessary relationships with the hospital’s social work department as well as with local spiritual leaders to ensure a multidisciplinary approach to palliative care. Due to her advocacy in the hospital and the community, she was able to double the number of patients enrolled and hired more nurses for the program. Her nurturing, compassionate style alongside excellent communication skills have earned her the respect of her colleagues, patients, and mentors.

2021 Honorees

Habib Ghaddar, MD, FACP
Dorey Glenn, MD, MPH
Michael A. Linden, MD, PhD
Cathy Pingoy, RN, MSN
Jaime Andres Suarez-Londono, MD

2020 Honorees

Roland Beverly, MD
Jill Derstine, EdD, RN, FAAN
Susan Harris, MD
Patricia Larsen, PT, CWS, OMS
Monika Mann, PT, MPH
Anne Marie Tietjen, PhD

2019 Honorees

Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) Team of Anesthesia Providers
Editors, HVO-Sponsored Frontiers in Public Health Special Topic eBook
Richard Fisher, MD
Christoph Funk, MUDr
Brian Hollander, DMD
Mimi Lhamu Mynak, MBBS, MD
George Pantely, MD

2018 Honorees

Janna Beling, PhD, PT
Pamela Cole, PT, CWS
Robert Hoffman, MD
Cynthia Howard, MD, MPHTM
Dashrath Kafle, BDS, MDS
Alexia Knapp, MD, MS
Sithach Mey, MD
George Meyer, MD
Prakash Neupane, MD

2017 Honorees

Charles Bloomer, DDS
Theresa Coetzer, PhD
Christian Fuentes, MD
David Goldstein, MBBS, FRACP, MRCP(UK)
Judith Hembree, PT, PhD
Silvia Plattner, PT
Julia Plotnick, RN, MPH, FAAN, RADM, USPHS(ret)

2016 Honorees

Kay Ahern, PT, CHT
Mary Christman, PT, MAEd
Dr. Nguyen Ngoc Chung
Jo Davies, MBBS, FRCA
Barry Gainor, MD
John P. W. Kelly, DMD, MD
Antoinette “Toni” Sander, PT, DPT, MS, CLT-LANA
Leila Srour, MD, MPH, DTM&H
N. Ewen Wang, MD

2015 Honorees

Gaston Barnechea, MD
Barbara Billek-Sawhney, PT, EdD, DPT, MS, GCS
Peter Curran, MD, MHCDS, FACP
Brian Failla
Donald Lalonde, MD, FRCSC
Jeanne Leffers, PhD, RN
Susan Raber, PharmD, MPH
Peter Trafton, MD, FACS

2014 Honorees

Dino Aguilar, MD
Robert J. Buchholz, JR., CRNA, MSNA
David E. Frost, DDS, MS
Katharine Morley, MD, MPH
Tom Morton, MBChB, FACEM
Jose Angel Sanchez, MD
Linda Wolff, MPT

2013 Honorees

William Creasman, MD
Randall Culp, MD
Diana Davidson, CRNA
Norman James, MD
Robert Kalb, MD

2012 Honorees

Eugenio Beltran, DMD, MPH, DrPH, MS
T. Desmond Brown, MD
Linus T. Chuang, MD, MPH, MS
Lawrence Gordon, MD
Martin Hobdell, BDS, PhD, MA
Jared Hubbell, MD
Mark Makumbi Kayanja, MBchB, M.Med (Surg), M.Med (Ortho), PhD
Pfizer’s Global Health Fellows – India
Robert Stein, MD

2011 Honorees

Laura L. Fitzpatrick, MD
C. Fits Hunsel, PT, LMBT
Michelle James, MD
C. Neil Kay, BDS, MS
Isador Lieberman, MD, MBA, FRSC(c)
Fredric V. Price, MD
Vidya Swaminathan, PhD

2010 Honorees

Judy Canfield-Henry, PT, MSEd, EdD
Shaun Cleaver, PT, MSc
Denise English, PT
Mary Jo Geyer, PT, Phd, FCCWS, CLT-LANA, CPed
Victoria Seligman, MD
Lynne Welch, MSN, EdD, ApRN, FNP-BC

2009 Honorees

Caroline Dueger, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Kim Dunleavy, PT, PhD, OCS
Richard Henker, PhD, RN, CRNA
Elizabeth Kay, PT, PhD
Barbara Latenser, MD, FACS
Benedict Magsamen, MD
Joseph E. Sheppard, MD
David Spiegel, MD

2008 Honorees

Eugenio Beltran, DMD, MPH, DrPH, MS
Cary Bjork, MD, FACP
Ann Carroll, RNC, NNP
Larry Herman, DMD, MD
R. Byron McCord, MD
Ellen Milan, RNC
Michael O’Brien, MD
Celia Pechak, PHD, PT, MPH
Yvonne Vaucher, MD, MPH

2007 Honorees

Suzanne Brown, CRNA
Glen Crawford, MD
Lena Dohlman, MD, MPH
Marvin Godner, MD
Martin Hobdell, BDS, PhD, MA
Christopher Johnson,MD
William Laney, MD
John McFadden, MD
Puthocode Rajamani, MS
Wingfield Rehmus, MD, MPH

2006 Honorees

Mattilou Catchpole, CRNA, PhD
Ray DeFalque, MD
Nancy Descouteax, PT, BAC
Denise English, PT
Charles Jennings, MD
Marvin Lang, CRNA
Robert Nassau, MD
Tim O’Brien, MBBS
Alfred Scherzer, MD, MS EdD
Geoffrey Walker, FRCS
Harry Zutz, MD

To learn more about the award and how to make a nomination, click here.

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