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.


Janna Beling, PhD, PT

Since joining HVO in 2000, Dr. Beling has been very active with HVO’s physical therapy program. She has volunteered more than 100 service days in Suriname, Vietnam, and Malawi. Dr. Beling has spent the most time in Vietnam, where she serves as the project director for HVO’s physical therapy program at the DaNang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital (DNORH). In that role, she has monitored project goals and helped prepare volunteers for their visits. Her commitment to the project has led to improved quality of clinical instruction and patient care.

Since her first volunteer visit to Vietnam, Dr. Beling has been working towards a collaborative spirit among the DaNang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy’s faculty, DNORH, and HVO. This effort was realized in 2017, when Dr. Beling became HVO’s project director for the undergraduate rehabilitation program at DaNang University of Medical Technology and Pharmacy. In this role, Dr. Beling will help support physical therapist education and a professional development plan for faculty, including research. Additionally, she has mentored more than 60 physical therapist students in global health delivery through HVO. Dr. Beling received the Medal of Outstanding Contribution to the Cause from the Government of Vietnam’s Ministry of Labor, Invalids, and Social Affairs (MOLISA) in 2014 for her work on behalf of HVO.

Dr. Beling is Professor and Chairperson in the Department of Physical Therapy at California State University, Northridge. She received her bachelor of arts in psychology and PhD in exercise science from the University of Southern California. Dr. Beling earned her master’s degree in Physical Therapy from Stanford University. In addition to her work with Health Volunteers Overseas, Dr. Beling is a Fulbright grant recipient and worked collaboratively on curriculum development with the University of Malawi College of Medicine’s physiotherapy program in 2016. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Pamela Cole, PT, CWS

Ms. Cole has contributed to HVO as both a volunteer and leader. She first traveled to HVO’s wound project at Hôpital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti in 2013. She has visited the site each year since, becoming project director in 2014. Her work with the site has demonstrated her commitment to relevant and practical education and her profound dedication to improving the lives of the Haitian people. Her colleagues have noted her persistence and drive, highlighting her effective use of time and resources at the site, and her ongoing pursuit of new opportunities to meet the changing needs of staff at HAS. In addition to her service in Haiti, Ms. Cole serves on HVO’s Physical Therapy Steering Committee.

Ms. Cole is a physical therapist and clinical specialist at the Methodist Hospital Wound Clinic in St. Louis Park, Minnesota and associate faculty at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. She is a certified Clinical Wound Specialist and received her master’s degree in physical therapy from Boston University. She is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Wound Care.

Robert Hoffman, MD

Dr. Hoffman has been a member of HVO for more than a decade, volunteering on eleven assignments in three countries. Since 2010, Dr. Hoffman has served as Project Director for HVO’s orthopaedic training project at the National Referral Hospital in Thimphu, Bhutan. His work at the site has included project assessment, development, and monitoring; advocacy and promotion of HVO’s mission; support of professional opportunities for Bhutanese surgeons; cultivation of connections between HVO volunteers and overseas trainees; acquisition and development of educational resources; and teaching, training, and mentoring overseas health workers to expand their knowledge, skills and professional development.

Dr. Hoffman is a staff orthopaedic hand surgeon at the Alameda County Medical Center of Highland General Hospital. He also serves as Associate Director of San Francisco Orthopaedic Residency Program in East Bay. He received his medical degree from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He completed his residency at the San Francisco Orthopedic Residency Program and his hand fellowship at the University of California San Francisco. He is a member of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, the American Society for Surgery of the Hand and the California Orthopaedic Association.

In addition to his work with HVO, Dr. Hoffman has completed more than sixteen missions in Central and South America with Operation Rainbow. He also served in Ramtha, Jordan with Doctors Without Borders, where he completed a six week mission providing surgical care to Syrian refugees.

Cynthia Howard, MD, MPHTM

Dr. Howard began volunteering with HVO in 1997, traveling to Makerere University’s Mulago Hospital in Kampala, Uganda to provide teaching and training to staff of the pediatrics department. She has completed more than a dozen assignments in Uganda, and she served as director of the project from 1998 to 2004. During that time, Dr. Howard worked to strengthen the program by cultivating connections between HVO volunteers and overseas trainees, recruiting volunteers, and supporting the professional development of her colleagues at Mulago. The network of HVO volunteers and Uganda colleagues and partners that she has helped to foster has led to a number of advancements, including neonatology education; establishment of an Adolescent Clinic; implementation of a screen for G6PD deficiency; and the development of a diabetes clinic. She continues to support and collaborate with her colleagues at Mulago and serves on HVO’s Pediatrics Steering Committee.

Dr. Howard is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, Director of the Global Pediatrics Division and the Global Medical Education and Research program at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her international experience has been primarily in Nigeria and Uganda as a clinician educator. She is a member of the America Academy of Pediatrics and received the AAP Education Award in 2017. That same year, she also received the Consortium of Universities for Global Health, Drs. Anvar and Pari Velji Global Health Education Award. Her areas of interest include developing and measuring the effectiveness of global health curricula; training and mentoring young pediatricians to address global child health problems, and international adoption. She is the parent of 16-year-old twin girls, who are from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dashrath Kafle, BDS, MDS

Dr. Dashrath Kafle is an associate professor at Dhulikhel Hospital, Kathmandu University Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal. He has been the on-site coordinator of HVO’s oral health project there since it began in 2013. He works closely with HVO and dental volunteers, facilitating their work to improve the quality of dental service and dental graduates in Nepal. He aims to develop Dhulikhel Hospital Dental School as an ideal place to learn dentistry for aspiring Nepalese youths.

Dr. Kafle has been working at Dhulikhel Hospital since 2005; he contributed to the establishment and expansion of dental service from a single dental unit in 2004 to the current dental school and university hospital. He has been involved in community-based dental outreach programs, establishing twenty-two satellite outreach clinics of Dhulikhel Hospital. He also facilitated the start of outreach orthodontic service in 2015.

Dr. Kafle received his bachelor’s degree in dental surgery from Dhaka University in Bangladesh and his master’s degree in orthodontics from China under the Kathmandu University Scholarship. He is a member of the World Federation of Orthodontics.

Alexia Knapp, MD, MS

Dr. Knapp was nominated for the 2018 Golden Apple Award by Dr. Grace Mulyowa, the on-site coordinator of HVO’s dermatology project at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Mbarara, Uganda. Dr. Knapp has volunteered at the site on three assignments since 2015. There, she works with dermatology post-graduates, providing hands-on training and lectures. She also participates in the continuous professional development program at Mbarara University, where she keeps qualified dermatologists abreast of current trends in dermatology. She has assisted in the development of a departmental library by donating updated editions of major dermatology textbooks. She also serves as a member of HVO’s Dermatology Steering Committee.

Dr. Knapp is a practicing dermatologist with HealthPartners Medical Group in St. Paul, Minnesota and a member of the Core Faculty for the University of Minnesota Global Health Pathway, teaching a tropical dermatology course in the live UM Global Health Course. She is also developing an online syndrome-based tropical dermatology curriculum for UM that focuses on dermatology in resource-limited settings. She received her Doctor of Medicine from the Mayo Medical School and completed her dermatology residency at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education.

In addition to her work with HVO, Dr. Knapp promotes refugee health and access to dermatology services, holding weekly global dermatology/infectious disease clinics for recent refugees and immigrants in the Minneapolis area, as well as returning travelers with skin diseases and HIV patients with dermatologic disorders. She also volunteers as a telemedicine dermatology consultant for MSF/Doctors Without Borders, providing advice to clinicians caring for patients in refugee camps and humanitarian crises. She is a member of the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Sithach Mey, MD

For over a decade, Dr. Mey has served as HVO’s on-site coordinator for the dermatology project at Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. As Head of the Dermatology Department at Preah Kossamak, Dr. Mey works with HVO to coordinate volunteer assignments, providing on-the-ground support and guidance. His efforts ensure volunteers are able to build on the lessons of previous volunteers, and he facilitates training of dermatology students and continuing education and training for nurses and physicians involved in dermatologic care.

Dr. Mey completed his dermatology residency at the University of Muenster in Germany, and he has served as head of the Department of Dermatology at University of Health Sciences and Preah Kossamak Hospital since 2005. During his tenure, Dr. Mey has developed the dermatology residency program and established a Cambodian Dermatology Society in Phnom Penh to bring together all local dermatologists, residents, nurses, and students for the exchange of knowledge and to promote the profession of dermatology. His tireless efforts to improve dermatologic care in Cambodia have earned him an award by the Cambodian Minister of Interior.

George Meyer, MD

Dr. Meyer has been a member of HVO for more than 20 years, serving as both volunteer and leader. He has served on the Internal Medicine Steering Committee, including as chair, and as director of HVO’s internal medicine projects in Peru and Costa Rica. He has volunteered with HVO in various locations including Uganda, Bhutan, Cambodia, Peru, and St. Lucia. His work overseas has helped to develop local physician learning in internal medicine in multiple countries, and his leadership has facilitated the growth of HVO’s internal medicine program.

Dr. Meyer currently serves as the Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California at Davis. He is a member of the American College of Physicians, the American Society of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the American College of Gastroenterology. In addition to his work with HVO, Dr. Meyer has undertaken numerous volunteer activities including work with the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society, Friendship Force International, and the Kellerman Foundation. He earned his medical degree from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans, and completed his residency at Presbyterian Hospital, Pacific Medical Center. He completed a fellowship in gastroenterology at David Grant USAF Medical Center.

Prakash Neupane, MD

Dr. Neupane joined HVO in 2014, when he undertook an assessment of a new oncology project at National Academy of Medical Sciences in Kathmandu, Nepal. When HVO’s oncology steering committee approved the new site that year, Dr. Neupane volunteered to serve as project director. He has since helped to coordinate the assignments of more than a dozen volunteers, while contributing to the development of the oncology curriculum, providing virtual consultations with staff in Nepal, and traveling back to the site himself in 2017. He was nominated for the Golden Apple Award by Dr. Bishnu Paudel, the project’s onsite coordinator, who cited Dr. Neupane’s contributions to the academic advancements in oncology that have been made in Nepal and the international network of colleagues that he has helped to build. This network has provided access to new professional opportunities and educational materials for residents in Nepal.

Dr. Neupane is a Cancer Center Associate Member and Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He also serves as Co-Chair of the Head and Neck Disease working group and Program Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Dr. Neupane received his medical degree from the Institute of Medicine Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. He completed his residency at St. Barnabas Hospital-Affiliated with NY Hospital/Cornell Medical Center and his hematology and medical oncology fellowship at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center. He is a member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology.


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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