The HVO Board of Directors provides essential guidance and oversight of the organization. You can also view members of our program committees, which oversee the development and maintenance of HVO’s programs and projects.
Pam Benson is the Managing Editor and Senior Correspondent for The Cipher Brief, a national security website that delivers relevant analysis of news and events that help the private sector anticipate and safely navigate the complex, unstable, global security environment.
She spent 33 years at CNN, retiring as the Senior Producer for National Security Affairs based in Washington, DC, where she reported on such issues as the intelligence community, terrorism, weapons proliferation, arms control and key U.S. bilateral relations with major powers such as Russia and China. During her career at CNN, Ms. Benson held a variety of positions, including writer, show producer, Executive Producer for all of Washington’s daily news coverage, Executive Producer for International Affairs and Executive Producer of White House coverage.
Prior to joining CNN, Ms. Benson worked as a news writer/producer in local television in Buffalo, New York and started her career as a news reporter for an all-news radio station in Buffalo. Ms. Benson graduated from the University at Buffalo with a double BA in Political Science and Speech Communication. She is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council at the University.
Emily Berry is a gynecologic oncologist in solo practice in Bend, Oregon. Her interest in international health care was sparked during college and medical school, when she served in Guatemala with the organization Hospital de la Familia, assisting in gynecologic and general surgery. As a member of HVO, she has worked in Honduras where she provided training for surgical oncology residents to expand their knowledge of gynecologic cancers. Similarly, as a staff physician at Northwestern University in Chicago, she had the opportunity to teach gynecologic cancer care at Mekele University in northern Ethiopia in 2014 to residents of Obstetrics and Gynecology. In October 2012, she was an organizer and participant in the inaugural “International Young Doctors Summit” as part of the International Gynecologic Cancer Society. Dr. Berry has been an active participant in the Society of Gynecologic Oncology since 2006, participating in educational programming for residents and fellows.
Helen Cherrett currently serves as a Consultant for Global Affairs for the American Dental Association (ADA) after recently retiring as the Senior Director for the ADA Division of Global Affairs. She received a Master of Arts in History, with a concentration in Cross-Cultural Diversity from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also received a diploma in teaching English as a foreign language. Ms. Cherrett had been with the ADA for over 25 years, spearheading their work in international development. She has served as staff liaison to HVO since the ADA became a sponsor of the organization in 1990.
Peter Curran is an endocrinologist with interests in international health, public health and health care delivery. Raised in Europe, he worked in Japan after college in the US before returning to the States for his medical training at Columbia and the University of Chicago. After a clinical career in Chicago and Idaho, the international bug bit him again and he has volunteered in multiple sites overseas. With HVO, Dr. Curran has served in Uganda, Cambodia, and India and has helped to set up the internal medicine program in Bhutan. He is currently working with HVO and Sihanouk Hospital in Cambodia on two clinical projects. He received the 2015 HVO Golden Apple Award for his leadership and work overseas. He also serves on the Board of Health in south-central Idaho. He is president of the Peco Foundation which focuses on supporting projects in health care and athletics. In Idaho he is interested in local food systems and is working to understand and improve nutritional health.
Sue Eitel is a rehabilitation specialist and the founder of Eitel Global, LLC, a consultancy service for proposal writing, program assessments, monitoring and evaluation — all related to international disability programs. Her extensive background includes serving as Senior Rehabilitation Advisor with USAID, as Country Director in Angola and Ethiopia for Handicap International, and as a physical therapist in Ethiopia, Romania, and Thailand. In addition, she has piloted a small grants disability program in Uganda through Pact, and created amputee support networks in six mine-affected countries for the Landmine Survivors Network. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association.
Richard Fisher, MD, an orthopaedic surgeon, previously served as chair of the HVO Board of Directors and Orthopaedics Overseas, the founding division of HVO. Dr. Fisher has been an active HVO member for many years and has served in Bangladesh, Peru, Bhutan, Vietnam, and Ghana. He served as Country Director for HVO’s USAID-funded rehabilitation project in Mozambique and was a member of the Technical Advisory Group for HVO’s Vietnam Rehabilitation Project. 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.
Dr. Henker is a faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing and a practicing nurse anesthetist at UPMC-Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Henker received his MSN in Nurse Anesthesia from the University of Pittsburgh and his PhD in Nursing Science from the University of Washington in Seattle. He has been a member of HVO since 2004 and received the HVO Golden Apple Award in 2009 for his work at Cambodia’s Angkor Hospital for Children. He has also served as a member of HVO’s nurse anesthesia committee and director for a number of HVO’s nurse anesthesia projects.
Jeff is a pharmaceutical executive with responsibility for addressing maternal health. He plays a leadership role in the end-to-end management and market introduction of products and technologies, in collaboration with public and private partners, that specifically seek to reduce maternal mortality. As a 19-year veteran of the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Jacobs has held a variety of positions in the areas of regional marketing, health policy and corporate responsibility. Moreover, Mr. Jacobs has held positions based in Latin America and Central Asia/Caucuses and held other roles with responsibility for Asia and Africa.
Prior to joining the pharmaceutical industry, Mr. Jacobs worked in the not-for-profit world for World Learning supporting nascent, local not-for-profit organizations in the former Soviet Union and for CARE International managing humanitarian assistance programs in the same region. He joined CARE, initially, in Togo, West Africa, supporting the implementation of various development projects, with a primary focus on micro-enterprise. Mr. Jacobs graduated from THUNDERBIRD School of Global Management with a Masters in International Management in 1997 and received his Bachelor’s in International Studies from the School for International Training (World Learning).
Nancy Kelly has been the Executive Director of Health Volunteers Overseas since it was founded in 1986. Prior to that time, she worked for the National Council for International Health and served as a Maternal Child Health Worker with the Peace Corps in the Republic of Korea. Ms. Kelly received her BA in Asian Studies from the University of Virginia. Upon completion of her Peace Corps service, she pursued graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health earning a Master of Health Science degree in Maternal and Child Health.
In addition to her responsibilities at Health Volunteers Overseas, Ms. Kelly serves as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the US section of Handicap International and Vice Chair of Global Impact’s Board of Directors. She also serves on the Open Board of the International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics and is the President of the Board of Friends of Korea.
In 1998, Ms. Kelly was inducted into Delta Omega (Alpha Chapter) Honorary Public Health Society in recognition of her role in the founding of Health Volunteers Overseas. In 2012, Ms. Kelly was inducted as an Honorary Fellow of the International College of Dentists and awarded an honorary membership in the American Dental Association for her contributions to the advancement of dentistry in global health.
Stephanie Murphy serves as the Chief Financial Officer for the Air-Conditioning, Heating, & Refrigeration Institute in Arlington, VA, a non-profit trade association representing manufacturers of air-conditioning, heating and commercial refrigeration equipment. Ms. Murphy holds a Masters Degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from George Mason University, where she was also awarded her BS in Accounting. From 2000 to 2004, Ms. Murphy was Chief Financial Officer for Global Impact, a federation of America’s leading humanitarian agencies. HVO is a member of Global Impact and participates in national, state and local work-place giving campaigns through this strategic alliance. Prior to her tenure with Global Impact, Ms. Murphy served as Vice President of Finance and Administration for the National Parks Conservation Association and as the Director of Finance for the East Coast Migrant Head Start Project. She has also served as Audit Manager and Senior Accountant for a major public accounting firm.
Jody Olsen, PhD, MSW is Chair of the HVO Board of Directors. She’s Visiting Professor, School of Social Work, and Co-Director, Global Health Education Center, University of Maryland, Baltimore. She focuses on developing global education inter-professional programs for health science students in dentistry, law, medicine, nursing, pharmacy and social work. Her most recent work is in connecting student global health education experiences to local health issues in Baltimore and Maryland. Before joining the University of Maryland faculty, Jody served as Peace Corps Deputy Director and Acting Director 2001-2009. Her international experience began as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Tunisia and Country Director in Togo. She has also held leadership positions with Youth for Understanding, the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, and the Academy for Educational Development. Dr. Olsen has previously served on HVO’s Board (1997-2001).
After earning her diploma from St. Anne’s Hospital School of Nursing, a BSN from Catholic University, and a MPH from the University of Pittsburgh, Ms. Plotnick joined the Public Health Service in 1959. In that service, as a community health and maternal/child specialist, she held various national positions and accepted special international assignments with the World Health Organization. In 1992, the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service selected Rear Admiral Plotnick as the Chief Nurse Officer and Assistant Surgeon General. In her capacity as Chief Nurse, she was the principal advisor to the government on nursing affairs. Following her retirement as Assistant Surgeon General, Chief Nurse of the U.S. Public Health Service in 1996, she worked for 11 years as the Administrative Consultant to the New Jersey Collaborative Center for Nursing and as a part-time Visiting Professor at Rutgers College of Nursing.
Currently she is a consultant on African health affairs to the Foreign Service Institute, US Department of State. She has served as a founding member of the Health Committee for the International Rescue Committee since 1997 and served as chair of HVO’s Board of Directors from 2009 – 2012. She and Jeanne Leffers, PhD, RN are co-authors of the book, Volunteering at Home and Abroad: The Essential Guide for Nurses.
Ms. Plotnick has received numerous awards and citations including the Audrey Hepburn Humanitarian Award, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, and the Distinguished Service Medal. She has served as an international consultant in numerous countries and represented the United States on the Global Advisory Group on Nursing to the Director-General of the World Health Organization. In May 2010, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for her work in global health.
Steve Schwartz is President of GDS Consulting Services, LLC., specializing in the areas of professional medical education, marketing, and medical humanitarian initiatives. Mr. Schwartz has extensive experience in the medical device marketplace primarily as a result of his 32 year career with Synthes Inc, a leading international medical device company which specializes in the development, manufacturing, and marketing of instruments and implants for the surgical fixation, correction, and regeneration of the skeleton and its soft tissues. Mr. Schwartz worked in a variety of senior management positions within Synthes, including executive management of sales; executive management of professional education; and liaison with the AO Foundation (a worldwide non-profit medical research and education organization). Mr. Schwartz has worked closely with many professional societies relating to Orthopaedics, Spine, and Craniomaxillofacial surgery, and he currently serves on the Boards of several non-profit and non-governmental service organizations. Mr. Schwartz holds a degree in Geography from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Vidya Swaminathan, a graduate of Purdue University’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, served as a Pfizer Global Health Fellow with HVO’s program in Uganda in 2010. During her six months in Uganda, Dr. Swaminathan taught and worked with the Dean and faculty of the Department of Pharmacy at the School of Health Sciences at Makerere University. She focused on strengthening the academic capabilities and building the health research capacity of the department. Dr. Swaminathan received HVO’s 2011 Golden Apple award for the sustainable difference she made in pharmacy education and training at the University. She is Director in Technical Operations at Bristol Myers Squibb.
Dr. Tielsch is Professor and Chair in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, where he also has an appointment as Program Director for the Global Health Epidemiology and Disease Control MPH program. In addition, he is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of International Health at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Tielsch has been working in the field of global health for more than 30 years, with particular focus on blindness prevention and maternal/child health. His areas of interest include micronutrient malnutrition, infectious disease, and environmental health. His interest in global health dates back to his service as a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea.
Maureen Zutz recently retired as Director of Development for Inova Health Foundation where she earned a reputation for achieving proven results in philanthropy. She brings knowledge and success in strategic planning, prospect identification, capital campaigns, and major gifts. She has extensive experience working with corporate and community leaders and helped secure seven figure gifts for health education.
Prior to her joining Inova, Ms. Zutz worked as a health care administrator, a nurse manager and a critical care nurse. Ms. Zutz received her graduate degree in health services administration from the George Washington University and her nursing degree from Pace University in New York.