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.


Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) Team of Anesthesia Providers

The team of anesthesia providers at Angkor Hospital for Children (AHC) in Siem Reap, Cambodia has become a regional resource for education and training of nurse anesthetists. This team includes Chief Nurse Anesthetist Bunrum Ly, Eng Hor, Kang PuthCheat, Im Peng An, Ho Sophal and Dr. Nhoung Pheakdey. Through dedication, hard work and collaboration, these anesthesia providers have improved access to and quality of anesthesia care throughout their region and ensured safe surgical care for children in Cambodia and Laos.

HVO’s nurse anesthesia project at AHC began in 2004, initially focusing on improving the quality of care by decreasing anxiety of children prior to surgical procedures, and including families in pre-, intra- and post-operative care. As the quality of anesthesia care advanced through partnership with HVO, the program implemented a curriculum for nurses at AHC to become nurse anesthetists and focus eventually shifted to improving the teaching abilities of these nurse anesthetists.

AHC anesthesia providers initially developed their teaching abilities by instructing nurse anesthesia students from the University of Pittsburgh and Oregon Health Science University under the guidance of volunteer faculty from these universities. This has evolved to the point where the AHC anesthesia providers are now teaching other anesthesia providers in Cambodia, as well as training the nurse anesthetists at their sister hospital, Lao Friends Hospital for Children (LFHC) in Luang Prabang, Laos. LFHC providers have traveled to AHC as part of their training, and, in the fall of 2016, all six members of the AHC anesthesia team took turns volunteering their time in Luang Prabang to provide instruction to LFHC nurse anesthesia students. Through their training efforts, the AHC team has provided an opportunity for the LFHC trainees to learn how to provide high quality anesthetics for patients with similar conditions in a scarce resource environment.

The education, training and care provided by AHC’s anesthesia team has led to more children accessing safe surgical care. In 2017 alone, AHC provided over 1,400 anesthetics in 2017, and LFHC has provided over 1,100 anesthetics since July of 2016. AHC has now become a center for teaching nurse anesthetists to provide compassionate care. In Laos, LFHC is used by provincial and district hospitals as a teaching center. Emergency room nurses from district and provincial hospitals from northern Laos are coming to learn from the nurses at LFHC, including the nurse anesthetists. These accomplishments are possible because of the collective effort of AHC’s anesthesia team. Building on their partnership with HVO, these local providers dedicated themselves not only to acquiring the skills to serve their patients, but also to contributing their time and expertise to ensure quality anesthesia care is available throughout their region.

Editors, HVO-Sponsored Frontiers in Public Health Special Topic eBook

In summer 2018, HVO announced the release of the Frontiers in Public Health Special Research Topic eBook, International Partnerships for Strengthening Health Care Capacity: Models of Collaborative Education. This HVO‐sponsored special collection included 33 articles by 163 authors, representing 28 countries and 96 different organizations and institutions. The purpose of the topic was to document effective models of collaborative education that contribute sustainable solutions to strengthen health workforce capacity and, thereby, improve health care in resource-scarce countries.

The tireless efforts of four volunteer editors ensured the project’s success. These volunteers included Jeanne Leffers, PhD, RN, FAAN (lead editor); Jennifer Audette, PhD, PT; Kevin S. Hardwick, DDS, MPH; and Wil Van Cleve, MD, MPH.

This was the first time that HVO convened global discussion around our mission of improving access to and quality of care. The level of global interest in the research topic was greater than HVO or our editors initially anticipated. This interest underscores the critical importance of the health workforce development effort HVO is so committed to promoting, demonstrating a desire among health professionals to connect and to share evidence-based models of collaborative education, wherever they may be based.

The publication of this research topic was a watershed moment for HVO, a recognition of the relevance of the organization’s mission, the impact of HVO’s training, education and mentorship model on partner institutions, and the integral role of short-term health volunteers in this mission. The research topic launched a new HVO dialogue that expands the organization’s reach, influence and impact, providing a potential springboard for future growth, new partnerships and new approaches. It catapulted HVO from not only doing good work, but also serving as a convener of essential information on effective approaches to health workforce development.

The HVO-sponsored Frontiers in Public Health eBook on collaborative education models would not have been possible without the vision, guidance and significant amount of donated time provided by Drs. Leffers, Audette, Hardwick and Van Cleve.

Richard Fisher, MD

Dr. Fisher has made extensive and exceptional contributions in multiple capacities to further standards across global health professions. Dr. Fisher has exemplified the HVO values of innovation, excellence, partnership and stewardship. He has made numerous, sustained contributions to the mission of improving the availability and quality of health care through education, training and professional development in multiple locations and across different professional groups.

Dr. Fisher has been an active member of Health Volunteers Overseas since it began in 1986. His involvement in the organization stemmed from his active membership in Orthopaedics Overseas, the founding division of HVO. During the formative years of HVO, Dr. Fisher volunteered in Bangladesh and Peru, working with orthopaedic surgeons and residents to enhance their clinical skills. He continued his service to assist with training in Bhutan for an extended time. These foundational visits set the stage for relationships between HVO and the host sites as he moved into leadership roles. He continued his volunteer visits throughout his working career, returning to Bhutan a decade after his first visit to solidify the longstanding relationship with HVO. At a later stage, he also conducted site visits in Sri Lanka and provided education training in Ghana.

Dr. Fisher’s many outstanding contributions include two major HVO projects. From 1990 to 1992, Dr. Fisher served as the in-country Medical Director for HVO’s USAID-funded project in Mozambique. There, he assisted with training and establishing patient services for prosthetic devices after the conflict and for post-war mine-related injuries.

After returning to the United States, Dr. Fisher contributed extensively to another USAID-funded project in Vietnam that sought to upgrade rehabilitation services. As part of the technical advisory team for the HVO grant, he contributed to the needs assessment process and worked with a multidisciplinary team to organize seminars for physicians, nurses and rehabilitation professionals on a range of topics including trauma, post-amputation, spinal cord injury and others. His contributions to these two extended projects not only promoted education and training for health professionals, but also assisted with promoting discussion of service delivery and introduced concepts of multi-disciplinary, patient-centered care. As the physician on the team, Dr. Fisher served as a powerful ambassador and role model for initiating team-based care with contributions from all providers.

Dr. Fisher has also played a key role in fostering the growth of HVO and developing the organizational culture. He served as chair of the Orthopaedics Overseas Board as well as the HVO Board. He participated in multiple strategic planning and development cycles, linked staff and volunteer contributions, initiated new projects and supported ongoing programs. His low-key and engaging leadership style has engineered connections around the world and built cultural bridges.

In addition to his extensive contributions to HVO, Dr. Fisher is a member of the WHO Expert Panel for Clinical Technology, a participant in the WHO Global Initiative for Emergency & Essential Surgical Care, and co-editor of the WHO publication Surgical Care at the District Hospital. He was a Fulbright Fellow in Sri Lanka in 2007.

Christoph Funk, MUDr

In 2018, Dr. Funk volunteered at HVO’s pediatric project site in Thimphu, Bhutan where he observed an ongoing, perplexing problem – the presentation of infants with suspected meningoencephalitis. Most of these infants did not respond to intensive efforts to save their lives. Having watched this occur during his first month as a pediatric critical care specialist, Dr. Funk devoted the remainder of his stay to understanding this recurring problem. He searched the medical literature for similar cases in the world and discovered a report of infants in an isolated area of India with a similar clinical picture that was secondary to thiamine deficiency. Connecting this case, which documented pulmonary hypertension and its treatment with thiamine, and an index patient in Bhutan who presented first with pulmonary hypertension that went into encephalitis, Dr. Funk connected encephalitis and thiamine.

He and his Bhutanese colleagues then proceeded with a trial of treating all infants with this clinical picture upon admission with thiamine. This was later expanded to treatment with thiamine prior to transport to the referral hospital. What resulted was an immediate and dramatic decrease in infant mortality. He and his Bhutanese colleagues also proposed an etiology and public health treatment strategy. In a country with a small population, such as Bhutan, this dramatic decrease in mortality will most likely be reflected in a significant improvement in its national health care scorecard. Dr. Funk assisted his Bhutanese co-investigator in presenting their findings at an international tropical medicine conference in Germany. They received the Helmut-Wolf-Award for best presentation, commitment and scientific research. Dr. Funk’s inquisitive nature and his commitment to serve as an HVO volunteer for a period of time that allowed implementation of this life-changing strategy brings great credit to himself, his Bhutanese colleagues and Health Volunteers Overseas.

Dr. Funk received his Medicinae Universae Doctor from the First Faculty of Medicine, Charles-University in Prague in June 2010. After completing his degree, he worked as a junior doctor of pediatrics at Evangelisches Krankenhaus Ludwigsfelde/Teltow (Berlin), and in a pediatrics outpatient facility. During his service in Berlin, Dr. Funk volunteered pediatric services at the Berlin/Kruppstrasse, Germany refugee camps. He also worked at Dietrich-Bonhoeffer Hospital in Neubrandenburg in the field of neonatology and pediatric intensive care. In addition to his work in Bhutan, Dr. Funk completed a three-month assignment at HVO’s pediatrics project in Vieux Fort, St. Lucia.

Brian Hollander, DMD

Since joining HVO in 2013, Dr. Brian Hollander has completed HVO assignments in Cambodia, Laos, and Nepal. He has also been a member of the steering committee for the HVO oral health program for 7 years.

In 2015, Dr. Hollander collaborated with Dhulikhel Dental School in Kathmandu to launch HVO’s oral health project in Nepal. As project director, Dr. Hollander has been instrumental in the recruitment and coordination of numerous volunteers, including general dentists, oral surgeons, endodontists, oral pathologists and orthodontists. He works closely with the project’s onsite coordinator Dr. Dashrath Kafle (2018 Golden Apple recipient) to facilitate the teaching and training delivered by HVO volunteers, facilitating improvement in the quality of dental service and dental graduates in Nepal.

In November of 2018, Dr. Hollander traveled to Nepal with Royann Royer, RDH and Lia Parker, CDA to help start a dental assisting program at Dhulikhel Dental School. This is the first HVO program for dental assistance training, devised in partnership with Nepal dental professionals. Additionally, Dr. Hollander’s contributions have enabled Dhulikhel Dental School to offer newer treatment modalities like conscious sedation in dentistry and rotary endodontics as well as other professional opportunities.

Dr. Hollander’s work in Nepal stemmed from the 29 years he and his wife Judy spent living, working, and raising their two children in the country. Dr. Hollander founded and ran the American Embassy Dental Clinic in Kathmandu for 25 years, and then started a dental clinic for CIWEC Travel Medicine Hospital. One of his proudest accomplishments was helping found the world’s highest dental clinic at 11,400’ in Namche Bazaar in 1990. With the help of the American Himalayan Foundation, they sent a young local Sherpa to the National Dental Therapy School in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.

While in dental school Dr. Hollander was awarded a health professions scholarship by the US Army and spent two years in Germany. Upon returning from the Army, he went on a four-month volunteer assignment providing dental care to locals in Cameroon, West Africa. He then spent 3 years traveling the world providing volunteer dental care and learning about cultures different from our own. Over his lifetime, he has provided volunteer dentistry in Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Thailand, Australia, and the US.

In 2009, Dr. Hollander moved to Bethel, Alaska to serve as the dental director for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, where he worked with staff to serve remote villages throughout the state. Now living in Anchorage, he continues to serve remote villages as a dentist for Southcentral Foundation. In 2008, Dr. Hollander was a recipient of the Unsung Heroes of Compassion Award, which was presented by HH the Dalai Lama. His favorite quotation that he tries to live by is from the Dalai Lama. “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Mimi Lhamu Mynak, MBBS, MD

Dr. Mimi has worked with HVO volunteers for many years, serving as on-site coordinator for HVO’s pediatrics project in Thimphu, Bhutan since 2014. As Head of the Pediatrics Department at Jigme Dorji Wangchuck National Referral (JDWNR) Hospital and supporter of the Bhutan pediatric residency program, Dr. Mimi is an essential partner to HVO. She has provided on-the-ground support, ensuring a warm welcome for HVO pediatric volunteers and continuity in the education and training they provide. She supports HVO’s mission to develop pediatric human resources and improve child health care. Her communication with HVO and the volunteers is dependable and sincere, and she has been a welcoming presence for HVO volunteers from other disciplines as well.

In addition to her work with HVO volunteers, Dr. Mimi supports the prevention of pediatric infectious diseases by advocating for appropriate vaccines and working to address recurring and perplexing health challenges within the pediatrics department. For many years, Dr. Mimi has shared her pediatric health care experiences with HVO volunteers. One perplexing problem has been the presentation of infants with suspected meningoencephalitis. Most of these unfortunate infants, less than one year, did not respond to intensive efforts to save their lives. Dr. Mimi discussed their presentation and hospital course with multiple doctors. The etiology for these diseases were extensively worked up including minimal invasive autopsy with samples being sent to CDC Atlanta in 2017 -2018. The biopsy samples did not did not reveal any infectious cause. In 2018, Dr. Christoph Funk, a German pediatric intensive care doctor, and HVO volunteer in Bhutan, searched the literature for possible etiologies. He found a report about a similar presentation in an infant with thiamine deficiency. The addition of thiamine to the treatment of these infants prevented the almost certain mortality course. Dr. Funk discussed the treatment with Dr. Mimi and the pediatric department. Together, a protocol was developed and treatment of suspected cases started.

Dr. Mimi supported Dr. Funk’s recommendations and encouraged the department to adopt the new treatment strategy. She continues to work on plans to collaborate with an international laboratory to confirm thiamine deficiency in suspected infants, and her advocacy efforts could lead to prevention of thiamine deficiency in infants.

Her colleagues note that Dr. Mimi is compassionate towards patients, colleagues, nurses, pediatric residents and HVO volunteers. Her life and work as a leader in pediatric health care, teacher, mentor and friend of HVO is an inspiration.

Dr. Mimi received her medical degree in pediatrics at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education & Research in Chandigarh, India in 2000. Upon completion of her degree, Dr. Mimi returned to Bhutan to provide pediatric services at JDWNR. In 2013, she became Head of the Department of Pediatrics. Additionally, Dr. Mimi serves on many committees, including the Technical Advisory Committee for National HIV/AIDS program, the National Committee on Immunization Practices (chairperson), the National Medicine Committee, the Hospital Therapeutic Committee, and the Child Health Advisory Group of the Bhutan Ministry of Health.

George Pantely, MD

Dr. Pantely is a cardiologist with a special interest in cardiac ultrasound, who regularly travels to several HVO internal medicine project sites. Since joining HVO in 2010, Dr. Pantely has completed eleven volunteer assignments in six different countries including Bhutan (2012, 2015); Cambodia (2011, 2015, 2017, 2019); Costa Rica (2013, 2017); Nepal (2018); Nicaragua (2013); and Peru (2010). Two of these assignments (Costa Rica and Nicaragua in 2013) were to conduct site assessments to determine the viability of new HVO projects.

In his work overseas, Dr. Pantely has become an advocate for bedside ultrasound as an extension of the physical examination. Last year he visited secondary hospitals in Costa Rica to teach bedside diagnostic ultrasound. He also has return visits planned to Cambodia and Nepal in 2019.

Dr. Pantely is an active member of the HVO Internal Medicine Steering Committee, serving two consecutive terms and providing thoughtful insights as a leader. In addition, he and his wife have staffed the HVO booth at the ACP annual meeting for at least the past 5 years. His colleagues note that Dr. Pantely contributes to HVO’s internal medicine program as both a superb teacher and outstanding advocate of all HVO does to reach out and teach health workers around the world.

Dr. Pantely graduated from University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in 1971. After an internship at Lutheran Hospital-Gundersen Clinic in La Crosse, Wisconsin, he completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology at the Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon. He was a member of the faculty in the division of cardiovascular medicine at OHSU from 1977 until retirement in 2015 and is now Emeritus Professor of Medicine at OHSU. He is a general cardiologist with special interests in echocardiography, adults with congenital heart disease, and pregnancy in women with heart diseases. Over the years, he volunteered at various free medical clinics in the Portland metropolitan area. He expanded these efforts starting in 2010 to include volunteering overseas with HVO to teach cardiology and echocardiography to health care providers in countries with limited resources.

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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