Volunteer of the Month
Volunteer of the Month Recognition highlights Project HOPE's wonderful volunteers and all of the great work they do throughout the year.
Volunteers play a vital role at Project HOPE, working alongside staff members, other volunteers and the global community to jointly achieve our goals. Through our Volunteer Recognition Program, we highlight the contributions of our volunteer workforce. Each month, we select a Volunteer of the Month from those volunteers currently in the field that are performing above and beyond the baseline of excellence. At the end of the calendar year, we recognize our top three volunteers with our Gold, Silver and Bronze Volunteer of the Year awards.
Jan Kline, R.N.
Jan Kline, a registered nurse from Port Washington, NY, has been volunteering with Project HOPE in Kosovo since February. With extensive experience in women’s and children’s health and health administration, Jan has been offering her time and services to the OB/GYN Clinic, Labor and Delivery department, Neonatal department and the maternity ward at Kosovo Hospital. Jan has been helping improve the skill set of the nurses and physicians by providing hands-on trainings and lectures.
With an average of 40 births every 24 hours, the Labor and Delivery department is especially busy this time of year. In addition to helping with patient care, Jan has also been working to improve patient flow, documentation and coordination among the different departments of the hospital. Since Jan has been able to volunteer for four months, she has been able to immerse herself into the local culture. She has been able to learn how things are done at Kosovo Hospital and provide advice and assistance that fits into their system and culture.
Jan is an extraordinary nurse and volunteer. She has made a huge impact at Kosovo Hospital due to the time and energy she has put into helping those in need. Thank you Jan!
Steven Saris, M.D.
Dr. Steven Saris, who is from Pennsylvania and works as a doctor on a cruise ship, came to China in February as a Project HOPE volunteer following a request from the Deputy Director of Science and Education at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) for a medical English teacher. The staff at SCMC are all excellent health professionals, but many of them have spoken little English since they left medical school and needed some additional instruction.
Since arriving at SCMC, Dr. Saris’s schedule has been very full. From Monday through Friday in the mornings, he goes to different departments – internal medicine, respiratory, etc. – to lead the English ward rounds. In the afternoons he gives lectures to medical staff on different topics. The topics cover many areas like medical ethics, coping with the pressure of being a doctor, communicating with patients and family, writing medical papers in polished English, and even doctors’ dress and behavior.
These lectures have helped the doctors at SCMC. For example, in China, pediatricians face great pressures from patients’ parents, most of whom have only one child. After the one-child policy was lifted last year, the resulting baby boom is putting even more pressure on the limited number of pediatricians. Better communication skills are benefitting the relationships between pediatricians and parents.
With Dr. Saris’s efforts, SCMC staff have made great progress in medical English and have enriched their understanding of the art of medicine. We appreciate Dr. Saris’s passion, patience, and professionalism. Therefore, we are pleased to name Dr. Steven Saris our Volunteer of the Month for March 2016!
Loraine Foster has been a local volunteer working in HOPE’s Macedonian program office for the past few months. Her exceptional dedication to helping the Macedonian team in any way she can shows through in her her many activities and hours spent in the office. Some of the priority tasks that Loraine has supported are updating the donated medicines and medical supply shipment database, preparing donation requests for products, preparing reports for meetings and assisting in research and country write-ups. Loraine has traveled with the team to all the surrounding countries to help collect data on projects, take notes during meetings and assist with preparing the team ready by providing detailed country reports. She has also been a crucial asset to the Gifts-in-Kind program through assisting in the monitoring and evaluation process of the donations and distribution of donations. Loraine has been a key player in working with HOPE’s local medical volunteers who are working at the refugee transit centers in Macedonia by providing logistical information and communicating with the other volunteers on what they will be asked to do, what to expect and who to coordinate with while at the transit centers. Her research on current situations in the countries where the Macedonia team is working has been remarkable and incredibly helpful! Thank you Loraine for everything that you do and we appreciate all of your hard work!
Photojournalist Ted Wendel
Ted Wendel is a longtime volunteer for Project HOPE. He is one of our main photo journalists and has traveled all over the world taking photos, sharing stories, and spreading the word of Project HOPE. Most recently, Ted traveled to Nepal for the Earthquake, Macedonia to work with Syrian Refugees, and to Kazakhstan to assist our field office. Ted is always willing to volunteer for some of the most dangerous and unpredictable situations. Whether it is in a disaster zone, or at a transit center working with Refugees, Ted demonstrations compassion and professionalism in every situation. The stories and photos that Ted produces are critical for Project HOPE. We utilize his work on our website, in our annual reports, on social media and more. Ted has helped spread the message of Project HOPE to donors, patients, volunteers, and caregivers and we are truly grateful!
Not only does Ted donate his time, skills, and funding to Project HOPE, he goes above and beyond every day. He travels to universities and schools educating peers about Project HOPE and the importance of humanitarian aid. Ted inspires volunteers, students, and fellow coworkers to travel the world spreading the message of HOPE and we cannot thank him enough for that!
Jessica Fuentes, RN
Jessica Fuentes, a pediatric nurse who works at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is spending three months volunteering for Project HOPE in Kosovo at the Pediatric Hospital in Pristina. Jessica has been working to establish a Basic Life Support (BLS) protocol at the Pediatric Hospital in Pristina. Her goal is to ensure that everyone in the hospital has CPR and BLS training. Based on an assessment that Project HOPE previously completed, this training will greatly increase the number of lives saved at the hospital.
Jessica has gone above and beyond what is expected of a volunteer. To start, she met with each head physician and chief nurse at the hospital to ensure the CPR and BLS training was what they wanted. After getting positive feedback, Jessica met with the Director of Nursing at Kosovo’s Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization to collaborate and ensure she is setting up a program that will continue after she leaves. The training is designed teach the updated version of CPR, enhance the confidence of the nurses and create a uniform knowledge base of how to respond to a child in crisis. The training covers CPR, airway management, how to use a defibrillator and many more lifesaving techniques. We cannot thank Jessica enough for her hard work and commitment to Project HOPE and the people of Kosovo. Thank you Jessica!
“Thank you for giving me this opportunity,” said Jessica. “I have felt very welcome and at home here.”
Maureen O’Reilly, RN
Maureen O’Reilly, a flight nurse from San Francisco, has been volunteering for Project HOPE in Nepal for the past three months. With a degree in nursing and a Master’s in Health Informatics, her extensive knowledge of trauma and critical care environments has contributed highly valuable, in-depth knowledge of regulatory issues, Advanced Life Support, pediatric intensive care transport, critical care transport, care plan administration, and more. Maureen has been working in the emergency department at the Manmoham Memorial Teaching Hospital in Katmandu.
For the first few weeks, Maureen did assessment work to determine what types of hands-on trainings and lectures are in greatest need. She then developed procedure plans for the hospital on pressure ulcer reduction, prevention of pressure ulcers, standard precaution policies, basic life support trainings and more. From developing the plan on how to implement these procedures, to actually providing the trainings, Maureen has demonstrated an incredible work ethic and dedication to the people of Nepal.
Maureen has also been incredibly generous in fundraising. She convinced Reach Air Medical to donate manikins to the Manmoham hospital to help the advanced life support trainings. She also raised money to travel to a community outside of Katmandu that was heavily affected by the earthquake and has not received any health care or support to assess its needs. Maureen is truly an inspiring woman, nurse and person. Her commitment to Project HOPE and the people of Nepal has been apparent through her many acts of kindness and hard work. We are forever grateful to Maureen and wish her “happy holidays” as she spends Christmas and New Year’s in Nepal! Thank you Maureen!
Lori Tobias is a senior account manager at Pfizer in Michigan who spent three months volunteering as a Pfizer Global Health Fellow in Project HOPE’s Shanghai office starting in July 2015. As a results-oriented, energetic Pfizer Global Health Fellow, Lori’s contributions and expertise helped our staff in China strengthen many of our programs. Lori helped develop great communication materials, and she also encouraged our staff to enjoy the work we do and pay attention to the difference we make to the people who truly benefit from our programs.
Some of Lori’s many accomplishments as a volunteer/Pfizer Global Health Fellow were
- Developing a form for explaining the importance of the lung function test to seniors in our elder care program
- Providing psychosocial support to children with epilepsy and their families by leading the singing of songs in English and playing games at a weekend camp for the children and families in WenShen County on the China/Vietnam border
- Helping nursing faculty at Shanghai SanDa University revise the content of a living will questionnaire to make it more culturally appropriate to seniors living in Shanghai
- Giving a guest lecture to students of health care about the latest advances in breast cancer screening and treatment.
“My work with Project HOPE was extremely rewarding, and I am grateful for the experience,” said Lori. The Project HOPE colleagues in China are wonderful – extremely hard-working and dedicated to the mission of Project HOPE of expanding access to quality health care. I do hope to be able to volunteer with your organization again, so I will keep watching your website for the perfect opportunity.”
Thank you, Lori, for your many contributions to Project HOPE in Shanghai and congratulations on being named our Volunteer of the Month for October 2015.
Patti Nicks, RNC, MSN
Patti Nicks is a registered nurse from British Colombia, Canada. She specializes in neonatal, perinatal, and maternal and child health. Patti has extensive experience working in delivery and with postpartum mothers. She has worked all over the world serving those in need. With a Master’s of Science in Nursing, Patti brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise as a Project HOPE volunteer. Patti volunteered with Project HOPE at the Hospital in Pristina, Kosovo for five weeks. She worked in the labor and delivery ward providing clinical care to patients, lectures to the local health care professionals and side-by-side trainings with the local nursing staff. She talked with families about family centered care and educated local communities about infection control and the importance of breastfeeding. Patti took the time to understand the culture of Kosovo in order to provide lectures that would be more relatable.
Patti had all of her lectures translated into the local language and used interpreters whenever she presented. From teaching about hemorrhaging after birth to information on episiotomies, Patti made a huge impact on the nurses, doctors and patents in Pristina. Over her five weeks of volunteering, Patti was also able to gain an understanding of the equipment needs and continued training needs for Kosovo so that Project HOPE can help continue what she started. We cannot thank you enough, Patti, for your hard work and dedication to the people of Kosovo and to Project HOPE. Thank you Patti!
Amy Montes, RN, BSN
Amy Montes volunteered with Project HOPE from July 30th to August 25th at NRI Hospital in India. Amy is a pediatric nurse from Colorado. At home, she works in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, the Post Anesthesia Care Unit, Emergency Department, Pre-Operative Unit, General Pediatric Unit, and Newborn Transition Nursery as needed. Her wealth of knowledge directly impacted the nurses in India through clinical trainings and lectures. Amy spent her days working with patients, developing lectures for the local nurses and teaching clinical skills to advance their techniques. She adapted and developed a Pediatric Advanced Life Support Course and a Neonatal Resuscitation Program that was widely accepted by the hospital.
Amy was truly invested in learning about the way the nurses at NRI Hospital provide care. After taking the time to observe and learn from the local staff, she was able to adapt her way of teaching to be specific to the needs of the hospital. She provided pre- and post-tests to ensure her teaching style was effective and worked closely with each nurse to help enhance his/her education. Amy made a huge impact at NRI. Even after she returned home, Amy worked with Project HOPE to send materials the nurses in India and provide advice for future volunteers. She was a wonderful volunteer, and we hope to see her again soon! Thank you Amy!
Harry Owens, MD
Harry Owens is a family/emergency medicine physician from Oregon. He has a Master’s degree in International Management and has worked all over the world providing health care and public health trainings. Dr. Owens volunteered on Continuing Promise 2015 from March 29-June 26. He served as an internal/family medicine doctor on the USNS Comfort and helped provide medical care to patients in Belize, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, and El Salvador. Dr. Owens has been a volunteer with Project HOPE since the very beginning.
He worked with Project HOPE on the SS HOPE back in the 1970’s and has been a dedicated and incredible volunteer ever since. While on the USNS Comfort, Dr. Owens made a presentation on the history of Project HOPE and the military and the importance of providing humanitarian aid. He worked with Navy personnel and in country staff on emergency care techniques and provided multiple inspiring trainings on how to be a better humanitarian. Dr. Owens is one of the most dedicated and inspiring volunteers at Project HOPE and we cannot thank him enough! Congratulations on being the Volunteer of the Month for July!
Carolyn Rosa, RN
Carolyn Rosa is a pediatric nurse from Washington D.C. who volunteered in Pristina, Kosovo from May 20th-June 12th. Carolyn works in Reston, Virginia at the Reston Town Center for Pediatrics as a pediatric nurse practitioner. While in Kosovo, Carolyn’s main task was to complete an assessment to determine how volunteers can best provide an impact to the patients, local staff, and hospital as a whole. She was our first pediatric nurse to go to Kosovo and provided an enormous amount of insight into the challenges the hospital deals with, the staffing abilities, the equipment capacity and the knowledge level.
Along with doing assessment work, Carolyn worked alongside the local nurses to provide some additional trainings and clinical skills. She met with physicians and heads of nursing to identify what is needed on each ward. She observed and worked with each unit for one to two days and attended morning visit and rounds with the physicians. Carolyn did an incredible job at connecting with the local staff and with Project HOPE’s volunteer programs to set up future rotations. The insight she has established is truly amazing, and we cannot thank her enough! Wonderful work Carolyn and thank you!
Ann Perez, RN
Ann Perez volunteered with Project HOPE for a total of six months this year. Her volunteering started at the NRI hospital in Vijayawada, India. While Ann’s specialty is as an ICU nurse, but her capabilities go beyond just one certification. While in India, Ann did everything from teaching classes, to working side by side the local nurses in the ICU, to working in several different departments. She taught health professionals there about proper wound care, bedside manners, preventative health, policies and procedures and more. Ann is such a remarkable volunteer, and she truly made one of the largest impacts at this hospital.
On April 25, while Ann was in India, the Nepal Earthquake hit. Being the kind and generous person she is, Ann was first in line to offer her assistance in Nepal with Project HOPE. Ann traveled to Kathmandu on May 2nd and once again, proved how generous and amazing she really is. Ann first worked at the Israeli Military Camp and was placed in Pediatrics. Even though she does not normally work in Pediatrics, Ann immediately settled in and assisted in any way she could. From providing food and water to the patients, to playing games, to providing clinical care, to listening to their stories, Ann touched many lives.
After spending almost two weeks in Nepal, Ann returned to India to finish her time at the NRI hospital. Ann continued to work with the local nurses and picked up right where she left off. Ann is truly an amazing volunteer and has touched so many lives all over the world. Thank you Ann!!
Nikole Bobadilla, M.D.
Dr. Nikole Bobadilla is a second-year OB/GYN resident at the Wake Forest School of Medicine. She was one of the 2014 winners of Sanders Scholarships. Dr. Bobadilla volunteered with Project HOPE in the Dominican Republic for one month as a Sanders Scholar.
Dr. Bobadilla worked in Maternal and Child Health at the Project HOPE affiliated Monte Plata clinic in the Dominican Republic. During her stay, she was an incredible asset to the staff and patients. She assisted with conducting medical check-ups for pregnant women, performing pap tests and shadowing the OB/GYN physician during diagnostic tests, colposcopies and biopsies. She worked with the clinic staff on the Five Star program and helped provide some continuing education to the medical professionals. Dr. Bobadilla was also able to visit the main hospital in Monte Plata and meet with its director to gain some insight on what the hospital might need from volunteers.
Dr. Bobadilla’s interaction with the patients was truly amazing. Not only is she fluent in Spanish, but she was also able to integrate into the community and culture immediately. Her connection with the patients and medical staff was truly remarkable, as everyone was so honored to have her volunteering at the clinic.
Dr. Bobadilla demonstrated her excellent professionalism and high knowledge base the entire time she volunteered. She always showed a respect and interest in learning more about the health care system and how to better help the patients and even conducted home visits to multiple patients. Project HOPE and the Monte Plata Clinic thank Dr. Bobadilla for her continued support! Thank you!!
Sappho Gilbert, MPH
Sappho Gilbert is a three-month volunteer who has been volunteering with the Project HOPE office in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Sappho is intimately involved in a diverse group of projects and ongoing initiatives. As part of Project HOPE’s UNICEF grant for mental health and psychosocial support following the May 2014 disaster floods, Sappho is aiding the organization and execution of evidence-based, capacity-building materials, seminars, and conferences. Even prior to her arrival, she demonstrated her commitment to this project by taking the initiative to become a trained disaster mental health responder with the American Red Cross.
Sappho is also compiling a user-friendly, readily applicable toolkit for the Center for Healthy and Active Aging (a facility that has been successfully piloted for four years here in Sarajevo). The aim of this toolkit is to detail best practices and steps for the construction and sustainability of such centers in other municipalities and countries in the region. Her assistance has been extremely valuable and timely, as public health leaders throughout Europe are regularly reaching out and expressing a strong interest in such a toolkit.
Along with many other activities, Sappho has shown tremendous support to Project HOPE Bosnia. She is a wonderful volunteer and has integrated herself into all aspects of our programs. Thank you Sappho!!!
Vanee Balasubramaniam, MD and Kavi Gnanasekaran, MD
Project HOPE volunteers Dr. Vanee Balasubramaniam and Dr. Kavi Gnanasekaran are pediatric resident physicians from the University of Rochester. They arrived in the Dominican Republic on January 4th, 2015. Over their three-week mission, they have been implementing the Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) program in three public hospitals – two in Monte Plata and one in Santa Domingo. Vanee and Kavi have successfully trained 50 doctors and nurses in the HBB program.
Months before Vanee and Kavi left for their mission, they had already become extremely dedicated volunteers. They raised funds, spoke to sponsors and traveled to conferences to acquire eight donated HBB kits, which they brought to the Dominican Republic to leave with the hospitals.
During their mission, Vanee and Kavi worked with the local office, the Ministry of Health, and health care professionals to implement this program through trainings and “train the trainer” classes. This program has been very successful and is very sustainable. They have opened a lot of doors for future volunteers and for the local staff to continue this program and help save newborn children. Project HOPE thanks Vanee and Kavi for all of the work they have done, and we look forward to continuing this program in the Dominican Republic!
Avery Putterman, MSN, RN, CPNP
Avery Putterman is a pediatric nurse practitioner, who has practiced at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, currently volunteering with Project HOPE at the Wuhan HOPE School of Nursing in Wuhan, China from September 2014 through January 2015. Avery’s dedication was noted even before her departure.
Avery discussed the curriculum and teaching arrangements with the course director in advance to ensure all was prepared. During her time in Wuhan, Avery worked with the students and faculty to develop a curriculum that links the theory-based practices of pediatric nursing with clinical techniques. She taught a health assessment course to Master of Nursing students. Avery also taught Bachelor of Nursing students methods to enhance their clinical knowledge, and she worked closely with faculty to improve their teaching skills and clinical techniques. In addition she worked with the students to enhance their English language skills.
Avery worked very closely with the HOPE staff in Wuhan with administrative tasks, developing more efficient teaching materials and videos to promote the school in the area. Her guidance on improving the nursing education and her true passion for nursing has made an amazing and long-lasting impact on the students, faculty, and Project HOPE staff in Wuhan. We thank you Avery for all of your hard work and hope to see you on another mission soon!
Anthony Denison, RN, MPH
Anthony Denison, a clinical research nurse and public health specialist from New Jersey, spent six weeks volunteering at the NRI General Hospital in Vijayawada, India. Anthony’s main goal as a volunteer was to ensure he left a large impact at the hospital. Through his hard work and dedication, he did just that.
Anthony focused on developing certifications and documents to help the hospital obtain the National Accreditation Board of Hospitals standards. He created documents such as a nursing admission assessment form, a pediatric age-specific competency lecture with post-test, and a Cardex nursing documentation form for use within the general pediatric and pediatric intensive care units at NRI.
With each form, he developed learning modules that could be utilized by the health care professionals, patients and family members. He gave trainings to nurses in pediatrics and gave lectures on each document to teach the staff how to properly utilize the information to improve their hospital. During Anthony’s time, he also helped the nurses with patient care and demonstrated new techniques and skills for the staff members.
Anthony truly worked to ensure he was leaving a large impact at the hospital. Even now that his mission is over, he is continuing to assist by providing the materials he created to future volunteers and taking the time to discuss with them the cultural norms, what to expect, and how to make each volunteer’s time as valuable and efficient as possible. Thank you Anthony!
Eva Chang is one of our first epidemiologist volunteers to go to Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Having arrived on September 1, Eva is spending three months assisting the USAID Quality Health Care Project’s TB component that is implemented by Project HOPE. During her time so far, Eva has gone above and beyond assisting the team with everything from reviewing the Quality project’s quarterly and technical reports for the project’s first three years to working to strengthen TB laboratories to developing data collection forms and working regionally to collect and analyze TB data. Eva has also met with the Tajikistan National Tuberculosis Program’s director and national lab coordinators for planned assistance in building up laboratory counterparts and analytical skills. She has traveled to visit the Macheton TB Hospital and is constantly donating her time and energy to all parts of the Quality Program. In November Eva will conduct lab studies and will prepare abstracts for publishing. She is a brilliant and hard-working young woman who has contributed greatly to the program and Project HOPE.
Chris Bush and Milca Nunez
Chris Bush and Milca Nunez began volunteering in the Dominican Republic with Project HOPE in September 2014. They both have integrated into the Order of Malta and Project HOPE clinic in Herrera programs by providing support in health education, training, and developing materials for the programs. Both volunteers have offered their expertise in curriculum and educational development in order to truly make an impact through the programs.
Chris and Milca also supported our gift-in-kind program by working as interpreters for Project HOPE’s Director of Donations for the Americas and the Caribbean Region, Mr. Colin Credle. Working alongside Mr. Credle, they visited hospitals, the Ministry of Health and the National Immunization Program of the Ministry of Health to assist in monitoring the storage, cold chain, and distribution of vaccines donated by Project HOPE. In addition, Chis and Milca have been involved in educating young adolescents about the prevention of HIV/AIDS, the prevention of teenage pregnancy and the development of Curricula COMO PLNEAR MI VIDA with adolescent beneficiaries of Alert Young Project in Herrera.
Rebecca Eisan, Oncology Therapeutic Specialist for Pfizer from Halifax, Nova Scotia, began her Global Health Fellowship at Project HOPE’s Shanghai Office in August 2014.
Rebecca was invited to judge an English speech contest at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center. In the preliminary contest, she made recommendations for each candidate and encouraged them to consult her for language polishing in her spare time. She has helped four candidates with grammar and pronunciation, which is quite appreciated.
Rebecca travelled with Project HOPE staff to Qinghai Province for our children’s epilepsy program. She saw a very different place there. The local hospital was not well equipped and the local infrastructure was poor. A pediatric epilepsy training workshop was held in a local hospital on August 21-24. Rebecca assisted in organizing the workshop by handing out educational materials and questionnaires.
Rebecca also helped Sanda University modify the questionnaire used by students to assess the health status of seniors and their risk of falling. Before the students began their investigation, she gave theme tips for visiting the elderly at home. Rebecca’s great work won the approval Sanda University’s president and the nursing director of Jinyang Community Health Center.
Rebecca brought a set of manuals for the elderly to China, which were developed by the famous Senior Research Center in Canada. And she had received permission to use these manuals in China, if Sanda University wanted to translate them into Chinese.
Project HOPE’s Shanghai Office is very grateful to Rebecca’s contribution to the programs and to the local health practitioners. It is our honor to make her Volunteer of the Month for August 2014.
James Calderwood, Jr., BSE,BSN,RN
James A. Calderwood, JR, BSE, BSN, RN, is Project HOPE’s Volunteer of the Month for July 2014, a distinction he earned for his many contributions to Pacific Partnership 2014 (PP14) in Tacloban, Philippines. He was involved with the U.S. Navy’s Medical Civic Action Program (MEDCAP) humanitarian outreach events, mental health (“de-escalation”) training and other activities. He was an outstanding Project HOPE representative.
James woke up early each morning and left for the MEDCAP sites with the Marines while others were still asleep. Working with the Marines and utilizing his health care management and nursing background, James assessed the space, helped plan and organize patient flow, and determined supplies and materials needed at the various clinical tables. He then continued his day at the MEDCAPS as a clinical nurse.
The Project HOPE team, in coordination with a U.S. Navy psych nurse and Japanese psychiatrist, offered to provide trainings on managing patient violence. As a male nurse, James recognized how male staff members are often asked to provide additional support in difficult situations. Since over half of the participants were male, he was the first speaker of the morning and gave an inspiring presentation on the role of male nurses. It was well received by all of the nurses. He also participated in the special “hands-on” demonstration requested by the psychiatrists. This training will have a lasting impact on the safety of patients and staff.
James was impressed with all mission accomplished, and said, “PP14 really had an impact on the people of Tacloban – I’m grateful for the opportunity to help.”
James flexibility, resourcefulness, accomplishments, and general “will do” attitude in working with others as part of the PP14 team are the reasons he was selected as the “Volunteer of the Month”. He had a major impact on the overall success of the Project HOPE mission.
Aman Al Masri
Communications volunteer, Aman Al Masri, has successfully placed stories on Project HOPE’s humanitarian work in media outlets across the United States. He is a skilled media relations pro with multimedia expertise, and his thoughtful and diplomatic manner has coaxed many HOPE volunteers returning from the Philippines to meet with reporters and share insight on the crucial work underway by HOPE in the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. Aman works in the Bethesda office but also served as our photographer at the Volunteer of the Year Awards ceremony at HOPE Center.
Aman is a crucial member of the team working on a special oral history project at Project HOPE to capture stories on film from volunteers who travelled on the SS HOPE and others who participated on missions with US Navy after the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004 and Hurricane Katrina in 2005 as Project HOPE volunteers.
Aman handled all technical aspects of filming the HOPE Alumni Association members during a recent Alumni Association meeting at Carter Hall. Aman jumped right into this project and did a great job, even using his own Mac computer to edit all of the videos – a lengthy, complex, technical process. Aman has produced over 40 short videos for us (and there are many more to come!) that capture the legacy of HOPE’s missions over the past five decades through the words and feelings of some of the volunteers themselves. The videos will also be used for marketing purposes on our website.
Aman holds a BA in Mass Communications, Advertising and PR and a MA in Communication Arts. He was born in Syria and grew up in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where he began his career in communications and advertising. Aman is fluent in English and Arabic and did graduate studies in Texas. Aman is also very active in social media, and is the co-founder of Syrian Aid Foundation, a nonprofit he started in Texas to assist families trapped in the civil war in Syria. His MA thesis focused on the role of social media (citizen journalism) in the Arab Spring. So he truly understands how to use social media to promote a humanitarian agenda. Thanks for your great work, Aman!
Sharon Redding, RN, PhD and Linda Rice, RN
Sharon Redding, R.N., PhD. and Linda Rice, R.N. joined the Wuhan University HOPE School of Nursing in Wuhan, China as nurse educators for a six-month semester beginning in February 2014. Sharon, who is from Omaha, NE and has a PhD in Education and a Master’s Degree in nursing, volunteered previously for Project HOPE in the 1970’s and ‘80’s as a nurse educator in Brazil. Linda is from Phoenix, AZ and has a Master’s degree in Nursing. They have been best friends since attending college together, both having a strong desire to help others.
Sharon and Linda were selected because of their tremendous work ethic and their ability to continually exceed the call of duty. Even before they arrived, they had coordinated the curriculum and teaching assignments with the course directors. Since arriving in Wuhan, they have used their decades of experience to help the school develop an efficient, simultaneous teaching model that connects and links theoretical teaching, simulation exercises and clinical rotations.
While in Wuhan, Sharon and Linda have developed a series of instructional video modules, which have helped the strategic messaging and external communications of the school. They have also trained the local faculty in questionnaire design and resource sharing.
In addition to teaching the BSN nursing students, Sharon and Linda also visited the school’s Continuing Education teaching sites, giving lectures to the students and clinical preceptors. During their clinical visits, they helped the teaching hospital improve quality of care and cost-effectiveness, namely by improving the relationships among health care workers, patients and the patients’ families.
The faculty at the HOPE School of Nursing have truly benefited from these two incredible volunteers. As a testament to Sharon and Linda’s capabilities, the school is trying to find a way to keep them both longer!
Dr. Paul Reiss
Dr. Paul Reiss, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon from the state of Washington just completed his second deployment to the Hospital Albert Schweitzer (HAS) in Deschapelles, Haiti to augment the local surgical staff and provide subject matter expertise in a bilateral training and learning environment.Paul recently completed a disaster preparation course in San Francisco and is fluent in French. He retired from active clinical practice in 2008, but is still involved in teaching at the University of Washington.
There are two Haitian general surgeons on staff at HAS who do the best they can with orthopedic emergencies such as fractures and infections. The chronic cases are only completed when a foreign orthopedist comes to assist. HAS runs clinic three days a week and operates two days per week. Paul and the surgeons complete rounds together, as there is no true orthopedic service per se. After rounds, including the hospital and emergency room, Paul would go to the operating room and make the schedule for the day. The Haitian surgeons scrubbed with him on selected cases in which they were interested, and they worked together to complete those cases.
One particular case highlights the fantastic work Paul did for HAS. With Paul’s expertise, serious extremity injuries could be treated in an austere operating environment. A 35-year old male was involved in a motorcycle-truck accident in Deschapelles. Paul performed an initial surgery on the man’s multiple femur fracture in August 2013 when he was in Haiti for his first volunteer deployment. Paul saw the patient again during this most recent trip in March. The patient’s fractures had healed, he was pain free and free of infection. The patient is now walking. These types of complex cases were difficult for the local surgeons. With Paul and other HOPE volunteers’ training and mentorship, it is becoming more common for the HAS surgeons to be able to perform more complex surgeries.
Saranda Gashi, MPH
Ms. Saranda Gashi is a recent graduate of Rutgers University with a Master’s degree in Public Health. She joined the Project HOPE Gift-in-Kind (GIK) team in Skopje, Macedonia in September 2013 to support the Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program’s data collection and monitoring efforts as well as to help coordinate the planned activities for the development of a new volunteer-augmented training program in the oncology clinic at the University Clinical Center of Kosovo. Sara has been extremely successful in supporting the establishment of technical expertise exchange programs for the oncology clinic at the University Clinical Center in Kosovo through Project HOPE’s volunteer platforms and also actively participating in the process of strengthening the monitoring and evaluation systems of the program.
Her work is now paying off great dividends. Within the scope of the position, Sara showed initiative, commitment to the work and an ability to turn ideas into reality in a very efficient way. Sara’s recommendations have been instrumental in the implementation of the program even for matters outside of the scope of her position. By implementing the planned activities in close coordination with the local team, local health authorities and clinical care providers, Sara showed great ability in identification and proper use of relevant indicators to measure program outcomes and the impact the program has had on the local health systems. Sara also contributed to a number of operational research programs in both Macedonia and Kosovo. She has been able to put the results into use for further improvement of the program. As an example, one of the studies on a donated antibacterial cream in Macedonia showed that it shortened hospital stay of the patients by nine days and this has now become a standard intervention.
Sara is also very actively involved with the identification and development of ideas for future programs in the region, specifically in Kosovo where she is helping map health programs, implementing agencies and their work to make sure the proposed programs are complementing what has already been done in the country.
Using her educational background and personal knowledge of the region (she was born in the region before moving to the US in the early nineties), Sara represented Project HOPE during the oncology services assessment mission in Kosovo by attending all meetings and interviews and coordinating the international experts for most efficient use of their time. She later took part in the development of the final report, which articulated the identified areas for improvement and the proposed training program design for long-term capacity building of the available resources.
Dr. Rajesh Bhargava
Dr. Rajesh “Raj” Bhargava, from Brookfield, Wisconsin, is our January 2014 Volunteer of the Month! Raj stood out among a superb group of 17 volunteers during Rotation 3 of our disaster response mission in Tapaz, the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan. Raj is an internal medicine and pediatrics board-certified physician, an assistant clinical professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin and a staff physician at several hospitals in the Milwaukee area. Raj has also volunteered with HOPE previously on several US Navy hospital ship missions in recent years.
From the very start of Rotation 3, Raj brought with him an unwavering dedication and work ethic. During our rural primary care outreach clinics, he saw all of the pediatric cases, in which he personally provided expert examinations to over 1,100 children. He did this with an incredible mix of professionalism and enthusiasm. Raj worked tirelessly, only reluctantly taking breaks at the Medical Director’s insistence. In addition, Raj would not hesitate to jump in and help his colleagues seeing adult patients. He also saw adult and pediatric cases at the Tapaz District Health Clinic, where he augmented local health care capacity.
In addition to the immediate work on the ground supporting the disaster recovery operations in the Philippines, Raj was a lead agent in developing Project HOPE’s long-term capacity-building health strategy for the municipality. He focused on a primary need in the community – a hypertension education, screening and monitoring program. As a result of his efforts, Project HOPE is currently incorporating a hypertension program into our plan to build health care capacity in this underserved community.
Raj is an excellent team player. He worked extremely well with all members of the team – from giving cooking lessons to being the team’s leading botanist and ornithologist. And no matter the toil of the long work days, he remained dedicated to his early morning yoga sessions. Congratulations to Dr. Raj Bhargava for his selection as Project HOPE’s January 2014 Volunteer of the Month!
Elizabeth Harrell, RN
Project HOPE proudly announces Elizabeth Harrell, R.N. as the Project HOPE Volunteer of the Month for December 2013. Beth is an obstetric nurse from St. Louis, Missouri and just recently retired from the US Air Force at the rank of Colonel. For over a month, Beth served as a key and integral part of the HOPE volunteer engagement in the Philippines in response to the catastrophic effects of Typhoon Haiyan (called Typhoon Yolanda in the Philippines).
Beth’s first assignment for Project HOPE was to meet with the U.S. Navy stationed in the Philippines to explore options for integrating HOPE medical volunteers into navy disaster relief operations, either ashore or on board U.S. Navy ships.
When the Navy’s mission became focused on the provision of water, supplies, and moving logistics – rather than medical assistance, Project HOPE asked Beth to extend her stay in the Philippines and contribute to our “main effort,” the involvement of Project HOPE volunteers in an underserved area of the municipality of Tapaz on Panay Island. In Tapaz, Beth was tapped to be HOPE Medical Director (HMD), the team leader for an 18-person volunteer team. Beth and the other volunteers were going into an area with no power, no communications connectivity and little logistics resources.
Beth single-handedly orchestrated a multi-prong approach to serving the health needs of Tapaz’s population of 60,000. She facilitated mentorship programs at the district hospital and health center.
Beth also developed and ran four rural primary care outreach activities, in collaboration with the local health department and the Philippine Army, where our volunteers saw over 1,000 patients and provided services such as adult, pediatric and well-baby exams and vaccinations. Beth was able to do all of this while managing the logistics of procuring and purchasing medications, contracting local transportation, and finding lodging and meals for the entire team, in an area with no hotels or hospitality arrangements in place prior to the typhoon.
Beth Harrell has done an amazing job under very difficult, challenging, and austere conditions. She has worked tirelessly seven days a week, sometimes with 18-20 hour days, to ensure the success of our volunteer team. She not only exceeded the standards, but set the conditions for Project HOPE to remain successful in the Philippines over the long-term, which bodes extremely well for those in so much need.
Project HOPE is honored to announce Amir Al-Kourainy as the Project HOPE Volunteer of the Month for November 2013. Amir is a recent law graduate and current George Washington University MPH Health Policy student, who recently moved from San Diego to Washington DC.
Since he started volunteering for Health Affairs in early September as the health policy and communications intern, Amir has been passionately committed to educating himself on a broad range of policy issues and has contributed to Health Affairs in a variety of ways. When he first came to Health Affairs, Amir began by writing press releases and posting content on social media. More recently, he has displayed an impressive level of initiative and has started contributing his own articles to Health Affairs Blog and Health Affairs GrantWatch Blog, which have been well received. Amir also attends press conferences and congressional hearings that are in alignment with his responsibilities with Health Affairs Blog.
Before starting at Health Affairs, Amir worked for the American Lung Association on California’s Proposition 29 campaign, a ballot initiative to raise funds for cancer research and smoking cessation programs. Although the ALA narrowly lost that campaign, the experience spurred Amir to obtain a degree in health policy. Amir’s long-term goal is to be directly involved with improving access to health care for those who are disadvantaged by our current system. He would like to become a policy advisor on Capitol Hill after the completion of his studies.
Amir has enjoyed the opportunity to educate himself on the full gamut of health policy issues, from economic trends and quality tradeoffs to health reform. He loves being able to contribute his writing, editing, and policy skills to help Health Affairs publish content that helps to spur both interest in and action on issues of access and equity that are important motivators for his interest in health policy. Amir encourages others to become both more informed and more actively engaged in policy. He values organizations such as Health Affairs and Project HOPE because they help to inform and educate on matters that are near and dear to his heart.
Ms. Kenly Flanigan, from Nevada City, CA, a recent graduate from the University of Vermont with a BS in Molecular Genetics, joined the Project HOPE Gifts-in-Kind (GIK) team in Skopje, Macedonia in August 2013. Kenly is supporting the Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program data collection and monitoring effort as well as helping coordinate the development of a new volunteer-augmented training program for the University Clinic of Pediatrics.
Kenly joined another volunteer, Dr. Janet Kinney, for the needs assessment assignment at the University Clinic of Pediatrics to determine training shortfalls within the health personnel staff at the clinic. Using her own EMT background, Kenly represented Project HOPE by attending all meetings and interviews and later took part in the development of the final report, which articulated the recommendations for the proposed training program design. Kenly continues to support the development of the training program in Skopje, while also coordinating daily with the health care providers at the clinic to further develop the proposed activities.
Kenly is very efficient and proactive and willingly supports the HOPE team in-country with other activities besides her regular tasks. She is actively involved in the monitoring of the donated GIK product, its validation, and in research related to development of new programs in the region.
Ms. Flanigan’s competency, dedication, ambition, and initiative greatly contributed to the work of the staff in Macedonia, both towards the implementation of the Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program and the development of the first-ever HOPE volunteer program in the region. Not only is Kenly a great colleague and an integral component of the efforts in Macedonia, but she has also become a great friend to everybody on the team. Her warm personality, friendliness, and passion for helping others, combined with her expert professionalism, make her a clear choice for the Project HOPE October Volunteer of the Month!
Gloria Dunbar, MSN
Project HOPE is honored to announce Ms. Gloria Dunbar as the Project HOPE Volunteer of the Month for September 2013. Gloria is a highly dedicated registered nurse from Arlington, TX. She is volunteering at ASRAM Medical College and Hospital in Vijayawada, India until late October 2013.
Gloria is currently teaching Indian staff RNs and nursing students in basic classroom, laboratory, and bedside settings. The topics were selected by the nurse supervisors and faculty of the ASRAM Nursing College. Incoming nurses are being given topics that can further support the teaching and identification of clinical needs. She is also working with the nursing supervisors to set up refresher training on skills noted as deficient on the wards – such as contaminating factors, lack of hand washing, care of Foley catheters, IV therapy contaminating factors and universal precautions.
Another critical initiative spearheaded by Gloria is the noted lack of emergency medication crash carts, CPR trained doctors and nurses, and a lack of medical emergency code teams. She is working to correct these areas through systems review and protocol development and establish a CPR “Train the Trainer Program.” Finally, Gloria is also acting as a mentor for incoming Project HOPE volunteers, developing a FAQ sheet and on-site orientation. She is serving as a liaison between the supervisors at ASRAM and the incoming volunteers to ensure continuity and the development of future long-term training plans focused on other areas of need.
Gloria is devoted to the advancement of nurses and women. She has the skills and knowledge to do both, which is truly helping the staff and community at ASRAM in India. She is driven by a passion to help others help themselves, the quintessential characteristic of the model HOPE volunteer.
Leah Bardfield, PhD
Project HOPE is honored to have Dr. Leah Bardfield, a trained pharmacology Ph.D. from Chicago and a Pfizer Global Health Fellow, to work with the field officers under the Project HOPE Shanghai office this year. This was her first international volunteer fellowship experience.
Leah worked closely with the staff from Shanghai Children’s Medical Center as part of her fellowship training. Leah helped edit 12 medical peer-reviewed articles. She spent many hours on literature search and discussion sessions with the authors.
Leah assisted with the senior care program. She insisted on going to the nursing home with the HOPE staff in spite of the hot weather. Once there, she showed the elderly how to do exercise with music. This music therapy exercise brought the elderly not only health but also happiness.
Leah also assisted with many media communication productions that helped to advertise our work in Shanghai.
Leah was invited by Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine to give a talk on pharmacy operations to the medical students. She worked very hard preparing the slides and spoke to the students in advance to assess their pharmaceutical knowledge.
Since this was Leah’s first time in China, everything was new to her. She soon adapted to the city of Shanghai, feeling comfortable exploring her new environment. When faced with a challenge, “be flexible” was the motto she frequently used. We enjoyed her good spirit and positive attitude.
Leah is a kind and caring person with all of the characteristics of an excellent volunteer – she is passionate, devoted, respectful and helpful. She set a good example in adapting to the local culture and working productively during her stay.
Rose Wilson, RN
Are you curious about the daily life of a HOPE volunteer on the US Navy’s humanitarian civic assistance mission – Pacific Partnership ‘13? Just ask first-time HOPIE, Rose Wilson, RN. Rose, a native of Melbourne, Australia, joined our HOPE team with a wealth of previous volunteer experience in the Pacific nations of Papua New Guinea and Timor Leste, as well as in Kenya. From the moment Rose stepped aboard the USS Pearl Harbor in Honolulu for this three-month assignment, she has distinguished herself as a natural leader.
Nursing lead Lieutenant Commander Wendy Stone characterizes Rose as someone who can stay “flexible in the ever-changing environment” of the mission. She also notes that Rose’s ability to stay positive and to motivate the teams she’s led contributed greatly to overall mission morale.
When bad weather stranded mission participants ashore, Rose stepped in to lead and advocate for her team of nurses who spent nights living in barracks at a soccer field. She showed the utmost in honor and integrity in a difficult and emotionally stressful situation.
Ashore, Rose has worked at community health screenings, medical engagements and nursing conferences. Exhibiting the kind of teamwork that is the spirit of the mission, Rose worked tirelessly side-by-side with medical staff and civilians in Samoa, Tonga, and the Marshall Islands.
Aboard ship, Rose is the go-to person for accurate information. She has helped arriving volunteers of all kinds get accustomed to shipboard life and to the rhythm and pace of the mission. HOPE Operations officer John Grabill was heard more than once saying, “Rose would be perfect for MY job!”
What motivates this talented woman? “I always like volunteering. It’s an interesting way to see other parts of the world. You really get to immerse yourself in their culture. My favorite part is meeting with nurses from other countries, seeing how they work, and what they do.”
When asked what advice she would give prospective volunteers, she said, “Come with an open mind, and be ready to see the unexpected and do the unexpected. It’s an experience out of the realm of the ordinary.’”
Thank you, Rose, for your inspiring work and representing what a HOPE volunteer truly stands for!
Dr. Ray Majkrzak
Dr. Ray Majkrzak, an Obstetric Gynecologist (OB-GYN) from Bemidji, Minnesota, just completed his first mission with Project HOPE, serving as a physician on Pacific Partnership 2013 to Western Samoa and Tonga.His unflappable nature and his willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty make him an ideal selection for June’s Volunteer of the Month.
When asked what triggered him to volunteer, Dr. Majkrzak sites his previous career as a mechanical engineer as the stimulus. In 1976 and 1977 he lived in West Africa and worked for the United Nations. Seeing the widespread need for even the most basic medical care spurred him to go to medical school. He spent two weeks volunteering in Haiti with a small NGO back in 2011, and since then has wanted to do more international work. He signed up to volunteer for Project HOPE as part of the Pacific Partnership 2013 mission for the adventure of working in a part of the world he had not previously visited.
His most rewarding moment during this mission was teaching bedside ultrasound techniques at the Savai’i hospital in Samoa. The hospital had a brand new instrument, but neither their Chinese obstetrician nor their nurse-midwives had ever been trained on the use of ultrasound to evaluate fetal age and size in the outpatient clinic. One of the nurses was pregnant herself, and was delighted to allow her colleagues to practice on her.
Ray was most impressed with the host nation doctors and nurses that he worked with – what they lacked in resources they made up in extraordinary dedication to their patients. Aboard the USS Pearl Harbor, the amphibious Navy ship supporting the mission, Ray organized a series of lectures for all of the medical staff aboard, and recruited other physicians to present as well. In addition to two lectures on women’s health topics, he also took those aboard up onto the ship’s flying bridge one clear night, and gave a lecture on stars of the southern hemisphere.
I asked Ray what it took to be a successful volunteer on a complex mission like Pacific Partnership 2013. He cited two keys to success: first, a successful volunteer has to be flexible, as the rapid pace and multiple uncertainties of missions like these can be challenging to even the most even-tempered. Secondly, he remembers that what is important is our interaction with our hosts and their culture. “If we concentrate on that,” he says, “the rest will work itself out.”
We congratulate Ray as the June 2013 Volunteer of the Month for his distinguished service while supporting Project HOPE on board the USS Pearl Harbor in Samoa and Tonga!
Kelly Burke, trained at the University of New Mexico in 2006, holds her Masters of Science in Nursing. Prior to volunteering with Project HOPE, she worked with Doctors Without Borders and other organizations. Kelly deployed with Project HOPE to Wuhan, China in February – for a full semester – as a guest faculty member at the Wuhan University HOPE School of Nursing.
In China, there are 1.65 million nurses and only 3% of them have Bachelor’s degrees. China is in critical need of more nurses with higher educational backgrounds. Also, due to China’s 30 year abolition of post-secondary nursing education, there is an urgent need to reform and upgrade the nursing education programs in both clinical and academic studies. The public’s low perception of nursing has also contributed to the shortage of highly-trained nursing professionals. Project HOPE and Wuhan University co-established a nursing school to revise and implement a new nursing curriculum and improve the capacity of the nursing faculty.
During her stay, Kelly focused her efforts on nursing education and staff training in order to ultimately improve the delivery of teaching and clinical practice. Kelly offered a teaching approach focusing on HOPE’s trademark train-the-trainers’ method, so that the students and faculty could use their improved skills and knowledge to teach others. She is not only doing theoretical teaching, but also supervising the research activities of international nursing students, as well as managing and supervising their clinical practice. When the nursing school developed a training video for the ASHA Simulation Lab introduction, she helped to design the video and perform in it, thus improving its quality and content. Ms. Zou Zhijie, Nursing Planning and Implementation Course Director, said “I want to give my sincere thanks to Kelly. The students love receiving her lectures and, with her help, our NPI course improved and the quality of students has remarkably increased.”
We are so proud of Kelly and her achievements! Congratulations on being selected as the May Volunteer of the Month for Project HOPE!
Dr. Julia Chevan
Dr. Julia Chevan, the Chair of the Department of Physical Therapy at Springfield College, is from Florence, Massachusetts.Balancing her multiple academic obligations and duties, Dr. Chevan was able to find time within her schedule to volunteer with Project HOPE in Haiti to help evaluate HOPE’s new Handicap Rehabilitation Facility Program.
Project HOPE Haiti initiated a recent USAID-supported handicap rehabilitation project, with a network consisting of two University-level hospitals and six Rehab centers that receive referrals from seven Community-based volunteer organizations (CBO). These organizations work together and are dedicated to improving the response to the challenges of the burgeoning handicapped population following the devastating 2010 earthquake. Most of the CBOs are either poorly organized or poorly equipped to manage this increasing demand and part of HOPE’s work is to improve the efficiencies of this network.
During her stay with HOPE Haiti, Dr. Chevan focused her efforts on evaluating our site staffing and facilities to better manage this joint approach and to ultimately improve the delivery of services.Dr. Chevan offered a teaching approach focusing on “hands-on” guidance to both patients and physical therapy technicians. Her patience, endurance, and ability to teach and manage were extremely impressive.She integrated very quickly with the team and left a strong, positive impression with everyone she met. This work will go a long way to furthering the goals of the HOPE office in attempting to meet the challenges of comprehensive rehabilitation in Haiti.
We thank Dr. Chevan very much, not only for her technical skills and services, but also for her engaging attitude and fellowship during many long hours on the road traveling the countryside, going from Rehab center to center. Dr. Chevan reflects all that a HOPE volunteer should be and we are proud to recognize her as our March 2013 Volunteer of the Month!
Nurse Anne Borden
Anne Borden, a registered nurse of 29 years with Massachusetts General Hospital out of Boston, volunteered with Project HOPE at the Alluri Sitaramaraju Academy of Medical Sciences (ASRAM) Hospital in Vijayawada, India. Borden, a returning volunteer for Project HOPE, just completed her Tropical Medicine Course in neighboring Vellore, India and volunteered to spend an additional three weeks with HOPE to help build nursing capacity at ASRAM.
In a rural area with a nearby population of four million, the (ASRAM) is a combined hospital, medical college, and nursing school with a 910 bed capacity, 130 intensive care beds, and 100 super specialty beds, with a full range of services. Within a span of just ten years, the ASRAM Medical College has emerged as a pioneer in the field with excellent teaching and research facilities. The attached teaching hospital serves the needs of sick patients belonging to the West Godavari district and the neighboring districts of East Godavari, Khammam and Krishna.
During her service, Borden focused her efforts on medical education. She taught courses at the nursing school to both nursing students and faculty – sometimes teaching four courses per day. For the faculty education, Borden implemented the HOPE-modeled “train the trainer” approach, thus helping to build capacity in the hospital by developing nursing best practice guidelines and staff competencies. In the evenings and after hours, she began teaching Advanced Cardiac Life Support to the hospital’s physicians. This was a great opportunity for the health care providers to learn to act immediately and save lives. Not only did Borden’s course teach rhythm recognition, defibrillation, management of airway, and emergency drugs, but she taught providers how to work as a team, including overseeing a mega code practical session with the equipment. Surprisingly, none of the staff in the Critical Care Unit and catheter lab had ever taken the class, so it was a first for ASRAM. The physicians loved it and were thrilled to have someone teach such a helpful course. More than 21 doctors participated in the second course.
We congratulate Anne Borden as the February 2013 Volunteer of the Month for her distinguished service while supporting HOPE in India!
Nurses Dottie Newsome and Jo Burt
Nurses Dottie Newsome and Jo Burt share more than January’s volunteer of the month honor. The two are sisters.
Supporting Project HOPE’s chronic disease program in Zandspruit South Africa, the duo is making a lasting impact on the patients and clinical staff at the HOPE Centre in South Africa, and at the same time, fulfilling a lifelong personal dream of working together on a volunteer project.
Dottie and Jo were raised in a small farming community by parents who believed in hard work and helping others. Both have based their nursing careers on that upbringing.
Jo, a returning volunteer for Project HOPE, has a four-decade career in nursing including 23 years as a chief nursing officer and 12 years in the U.S. Army Reserve Nurse Corp where she served during Operation Desert Storm for four months. In addition to volunteering for Project HOPE in Cameroon, Jo has also volunteered in the Ukraine to help develop a nursing curriculum and work in the hospitals and she worked for the Red Cross in New York City immediately following 9/11.
Dottie’s career has been as equally full, with 38 years of nursing experience in a variety of health care settings including medicine, psychiatric, hospice, elder and dementia care. She has been active in humanitarian organizations in the United States as well as abroad. Most recently she spent two months in Nepal working in an orphanage.
Jo and Dottie were selected for January’s Volunteer of Month because of the huge impact their decades of clinical management experience is having on the program in Zandspruit. At the HOPE Centre clinic they are helping to develop efficient clinical systems that are drastically reducing the waiting time of patients at the clinic and allowing local nurses to see more patients each day.
“Zandspruit is a long way from Utah, but we find that people all over the world share the same desires and many of the same values,” says Jo.
“We are so fortunate to be able to experience first-hand what life is like for the people of Zandspruit and we are very appreciative of the opportunity to be a part of the project to help decrease the morbidity and mortality from diabetes and hypertension.”
We congratulate Jo Burt and Dottie Newsome as the January 2013 co-Volunteers of the Month for their distinguished service while supporting HOPE in South Africa!
Gao Yifei, a graduate from Fudan University School of Nursing, works in administration at the Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital in Fudan University. Gao is dedicated to philanthropy and has partnered with many non-profit organizations throughout her career. As an example of her work prior to volunteering with Project HOPE, immediately following the Sichuan earthquake in 2008, she joined the first medical group to respond and was able to help establish the Chinese-German Red Cross Field Hospital. For her outstanding efforts, she was honored with the Fudan Headmaster Award.
When Project HOPE initiated a partnership with the Obstetrics & Gynecology Hospital, Gao became a very helpful contact person to promote the Project HOPE Women’s Health Cervical Cancer Prevention Initiative program. As this was the first time for Project HOPE to work with the hospital, Gao worked tirelessly as the communication bridge linking our two organizations. As a volunteer for Project HOPE in China, in December Gao devoted a great deal of time assessing the target population before the public screening campaign. During the campaign, she personally took an active role in the screening process. She played a very important role in maintaining patient flow, in filling out and controlling the sample information, in arranging the venue, and in organizing the physicians. Concurrent to that, Gao contacted the media to publicize the event. Post-campaign, she helped compile the data and inform the identified high risk population. The success of this screening activity could not have been attained without her unparalleled contribution.
“I am proud to be a Project HOPE volunteer, which makes my life very meaningful,” Gao says. “When helping others with all my heart, I gain true happiness. I think volunteering is a noble path. I am willing to contribute solely for the sake of love and care.”
We congratulate Gao Yifei as the December Volunteer of the Month award winner for her distinguished service while supporting HOPE in China!
Dr. Keith Williams
Dr. Keith Williams, a first-time Project HOPE volunteer, has been providing medical care and education across the African continent since August. Dr. Williams is a board-certified internal medicine physician, most recently working as a staff physician at the Boston University Medical Center.He is currently in a general surgery residency program at the Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, Texas.
Dr. Williams began his volunteer mission with Project HOPE serving as the HOPE Medical Director for Africa Partnership Station 2012, a U.S. Navy led humanitarian mission providing health care and health education in West and Central Africa. Dr. Williams led a team of six HOPE volunteers for six weeks, visiting Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Republic of Congo, Benin and Togo, with excellent results. His leadership, dedication, and clinical skills were inspirational to our Navy partners, our HOPE volunteers, as well as the local communities he touched. Following this mission, Dr. Williams flew directly to the Maria Rosa Nsisim Medical and Surgical clinic, in Yaoundé, Cameroon where Project HOPE is conducting a volunteer program to help improve women’s and children’s health. For over three weeks, Dr. Williams provided training to the local staff to improve surgical operations and also provided medical and surgical consultation services.
Following this mission, Dr. Williams traveled to another Project HOPE program in at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana. Here, Project HOPE is a partner of the Ghana Emergency Medicine Collaborative and Dr. Williams has been instrumental in providing medical and surgical lectures to the Ghanaian physician residents, providing clinical and bedside teaching, including procedural skills and helping to develop the monthly academic schedule. He has even initiated a Journal Club for the staff at the hospital.
“My experience with Project HOPE has been fantastic,” says Dr. Williams. “Beginning with the Africa Partnership Station, and later returning to Cameroon and now Ghana, each mission has given me opportunities to do what I enjoy most and utilize my training to truly make a difference in the lives of people in need. Whether it was a patient I was treating or a medical student or resident I was teaching, I wanted to be seen as someone who cared to make a difference as well as someone who had a passion for what I was doing. I hope, in some small way, that my actions improved the lives of some and made it possible for others to care better for their own. I extend my gratitude to Project HOPE for making this experience possible for me.”
We congratulate Dr. Williams as the November Volunteer of the Month award winner for his distinguished performance while supporting HOPE all over Africa!
Janet Taylor, GSK Pulse Volunteer
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals’ Health Systems Account Manager, Janet Taylor, joined Project HOPE June 18, 2012, as a volunteer to our Gifts-In-Kind (GIK) Development Department.Through GSK’s PULSE Volunteer Program, Janet’s skills and philanthropic goals were identified as a perfect match for the six month GIK Strategist volunteer assignment at Project HOPE’s International Headquarters in Millwood, VA. GSK established its PULSE Volunteer Program to allow its employees the opportunity to volunteer at selected non-profit organizations that are making positive impacts on the lives of others around the globe.
One of Janet’s tasks has been to create a marketing strategy to reach new prospective donors. Primary focus was to complete an enticing one-page marketing piece summarizing HOPE’s Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program. This program is designed to strengthen the health systems in 8 implementing countries in Central and Eastern Europe and Africa, by providing much needed pharmaceutical goods to hospitals and clinics that are facing incredible medical shortfalls because of financial despair. This program enables medical staff to treat patients effectively and efficiently with medicines and medical supplies that are donated by HOPE’s corporate GIK partners.
Janet recently visited Macedonia and Kosovo, getting a firsthand view of how our Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program works.She was greeted by HOPE staff stationed in Macedonia to administer the Program.The Macedonia team invited Janet to join them in making site visits to 3 recipient health facilities in Macedonia and 2 in Kosovo. At one facility, pharmacy administrators demonstrated how they carefully track the donated products.At other facilities, Janet witnessed patients and hospital administrators alike expressing their infinite gratitude to HOPE.“This has been a life changing experience,” Janet says. “I will always be grateful to the Project HOPE staff in Macedonia for their warmth and generosity.I am also grateful for their dedication to the patients in Macedonia and Kosovo; I found their work truly inspiring.” Read Janet’s Blog
We are thankful to Janet for her insight and talent in providing a new marketing piece that we are able to share with potential donors. Without our current partners and obtaining new partnerships, HOPE would not be able to provide lifesaving medicines to programs such as the Strategic Medical Re-Supply Program. Janet’s work at our International Headquarters in Virginia will benefit HOPE’s programs worldwide.
Sama Shrestha, BSN, RN
Sama Shrestha, a first-time Project HOPE volunteer, recently returned from Nepal in support of U.S. Air Force operation Pacific Angel 2012. Sama was born and educated through secondary school in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal and later received her university level education in the U.S., graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Nursing. She currently works at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, Virginia. A native Nepali speaker, Sama met HOPE’s ideal recruiting requirements: clinical credentials, physically fit and native speaking.
Assigned jointly by the USAF sponsors and our on HOPE Medical Director, Sama was designated as the Lead Triage Officer for the medical operation conducted in a remote mountain village in the Himalaya mountain range. Sama was the first clinical person facing the hundreds of villagers who showed up at the front gate each day. Balancing sensitive cultural and gender issues, Sama was able, each and every day, to meet the crowd of waiting people and determine the queuing sequence based on rapid patient assessments.
Sama saw and evaluated over 5,000 indigenous patients and triaged them to the various treatment locations of optometry, dental, woman’s health, pediatrics, family medicine and physical therapy. At each end-of-day review, Sama was specially recognized by both U.S. and Nepali government officials for her clinical knowledge and efficiency in working with patients. During the final closing ceremony, Sama received special recognition from the Nepalese Army and Ministry of Health. The loud audience applause for Sama told the whole story of her relationship with staff and patients alike.
We congratulate Sama as the Volunteer of the Month award winner for her distinguished performance while supporting HOPE in the remote mountain village in the Himalayas. A hard worker, Sama maintained a positive attitude every day which directly affected the successful outcome of the mission.
Cathy Blair-Perrine is a Nurse Case Manager at the Chippenham Hospital in Chesterfield, Virginia, where she provides discharge planning and utilization review for patients in an acute hospital setting. Leaving Virginia to volunteer with Project HOPE in Liberia and Ghana, Cathy is a first time HOPIE who quickly made herself invaluable as a member of the U.S. Navy’s Africa Partnership Station 2012.
“The opportunity to serve as a nurse with Project HOPE in Liberia and Ghana as part of the Africa Partnership Station 2012 was such an amazing experience,” she said.
Cathy took on a leadership role during the health fairs in Monrovia, Liberia and Sekondi, Ghana. She organized a separate injection station for the providers to send patients to receive lifesaving vaccines, helping to immunize hundreds of patients in several days. She mentored a Liberian nurse during her time at the clinic, offering much-needed capacity-building coaching and teaching. When the providers were finished seeing patients and heading home, Cathy could be found working hard in the pharmacy helping them finish up the backlog. Wanting to maximize her time spent working in Liberia, Cathy volunteered to visit a local hospital on her one off day instead of relaxing after a week of strenuous outreach events. She was immediately put to work in the combination neonatal and pediatric intensive care units, where she was kept busy the entire day putting in IVs, giving medications, and doing dressing changes. She was also able to give the nurses tips on thermoregulation of tiny infants, as well as help them with workflow in their unit.
Overall, during her rotation, Cathy was hard working, knowledgeable, and had an effervescent personality that endeared her to her coworkers and patients. “I was so honored to have been given an opportunity to participate in this mission. I learned so much in these few weeks,” she said. “It has really opened up my eyes to how great the need is for us to help. In such a short time we were able to have an impact on such a large number of people’s lives. My fellow Project HOPE volunteers as well as the U.S. Navy medical team that we were working with were so friendly and professional. It was an honor to volunteer with such a great organization and such great people.”
Cathy was truly an asset and a testament to the kind of volunteers Project HOPE deploys throughout the year, all over the world.
Dr. James Arnold Honl
Dr. James Arnold Honl is an outstanding and hardworking optometrist from Anderson, South Carolina, and a four-time Project HOPE volunteer.
Dr. Honl has volunteered for Project HOPE during two international disasters and has also participated in two annual humanitarian health education missions in Southeast Asia, including his most recent mission to Vietnam in partnership with the U.S. Air Force. While working in Vietnam, Dr. Honl was responsible for helping more than 5,000 patients by providing eye exams and fitting patients with glasses.
His worked truly changed people’s lives. Patients that could not see before walked away with a new outlook on life and improved chances for work and education. In addition, Dr. Honl provided high-quality, professional expert exchange with local Vietnamese optometrists and technicians.
At 73, Dr. Honl has the title of HOPE’s most mature volunteer. He is also one of HOPE’s hardest working, most respected and reliable volunteers. During each mission it is routine to hear the younger clinicians marvel at Dr. Honl’s speed and endurance as he treats patients. He is kind and empathetic, and everyone loves him, including the patients, the military medical teams, HOPE staff and the local country health workers. He is the consummate capacity builder, always using a teach/coach/mentor education model, imparting his clinical knowledge, background and experience to other providers and anyone who wants to learn.
When he is not volunteering with HOPE, Dr. Honl also volunteers to support the American Red Cross during domestic hurricane responses.
Thank you, Dr. Honl for representing Project HOPE so well in Vietnam and throughout your volunteer experiences.
July Honorable Mentions:
Sally Morris is a Registered Nurse, specializing in pediatrics, from Atlanta, Georgia. She served onboard the USNS Mercy in Vietnam, providing pre- and post-operative care to children needing surgery.While in Vietnam, Morris also led a 50-person medical team to a remote site treating more than 1,500 patients in five days.
Connie Lieu is a Pfizer Global Health Fellow working with the Project HOPE Shanghai Office in Shanghai, China. She spent much of her volunteer time writing and developing an implementation manual for HOPE’s Noncommunicable Diseases program which included goals, objectives and outcome indicators. Project HOPE will use the manual to implement other NCD programs. While volunteering in China, Lieu also wrote informative blogs, describing the successes of HOPE’s many programs in the country.
Dr. Robert Baxt
The medieval physician Moses Maimonides said, “He who saves one life is considered to have saved the whole world.” For Pacific Partnership 2012 volunteer Dr. Robert Stone Baxt, those have been words to live by.
At home in Baltimore, Dr. Baxt is a specialist in hernia repair and abdominal wall reconstruction. Volunteering for Project HOPE aboard the USNS Mercy hospital ship, Dr. Baxt serves as a general surgeon working alongside surgeons from the U.S. Navy, Royal Australian Navy, Netherlands Armed Forces and LDS Charities. He has quickly become the shipboard expert in difficult thyroid cases and the go-to clinical teacher for anyone who wishes to learn, from host nation surgeons, to junior nursing and medical students. His willingness to work hard has contributed to 2012 being the most productive Pacific Partnership surgical mission to date.
“I know it sounds corny,” Dr. Baxt says, “But my family members were Eastern European immigrants. The United States made it possible for us to do things that we could never have done otherwise. It is important to be able to give back. This is my way.”
Some of Dr. Baxt’s cases aboard the USNS Mercy have been dramatic as shown in this video. Dr. Baxt was the surgeon on call the afternoon a critically ill young man with a gangrenous leg was brought aboard. Through his and his team’s quick actions, the young man’s cancerous leg was removed, and his infection was controlled. A local congressman took an interest in the young man, who was transferred to a Philippine hospital for definitive care of his cancer.
Other cases have been less dramatic but equally important. He recently removed a very large but benign mass from the neck of one woman. “It was so big that she couldn’t lift up her head, or wear a dress”, Dr.Baxt explained, “It’s little things that change people’s lives.”
When he gets back to the States, Dr. Baxt will be planning his next trip, this time to the Sudan. And next summer, he hopes to back back aboard a ship volunteering for HOPE.
“It’s tough, healing the world one person at a time,” says Dr. Baxt. “But that’s the only way to do it.”
Thank you, Dr. Baxt, for inspiring the best in everyone participating in Pacific Partnership 12.
Barbara Demman,an emergency room nurse and lecturer at UCLA’s School of Nursing in Los Angeles, California, recently completed a volunteer mission for Project HOPE in in Kumasi, Ghana, providing musculoskeletal emergencies and motor vehicle accident response training at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH.)
Injury accounts for three of the top five causes of death in low and middle income countries and is growing as a worldwide cause of morbidity and mortality. The WHO predicts that motor vehicle injuries will be the 2nd leading cause of years of life lost for the world’s population by 2020. To counter this threat, the Ghanaian government constructed a new national Accident and Emergency Center at KATH and implemented an accredited three-year physician residency program to improve physician competencies in the Emergency Department. In November 2010, the program expanded to include emergency nurse training as Ghanaian nurses were not as current on emergency protocols as their physician counterparts, leading to a decrease in quality of care for patients.
Volunteers like Barbara are part of HOPE’s long-term commitment to Ghana to target this gap, by empowering nurses through the integration of classroom theory, lectures, and clinical bedside care in order to promote standardization and safe patient practices.
While in Ghana, Barbara emphasized patient management in the areas of acute trauma and resuscitation, and she helped the nurses see themselves as patient advocates and agents of change. She lectured three days a week, teaching well over 200 nurses. When not teaching, Barbara worked in the trauma/critical care area known as the Red Zone. “Despite being totally exhausting, the work was very rewarding,” she says. “The nurses are always eager to learn, despite the many challenges. When I see nurses perform procedures differently, because of the new training they received, my heart just sings.”
Barbara’s dedication and skill resulted in a shift from nurses being seen as just caring, to now being seen as caring and capable. These nurses are at the nexus of emergency room teaching and training in Ghana, as best practices taught at KATH are designed to be exported nationwide. “There is a sense of pride here at KATH, and a knowledge that changes are happening,” Barbara says. “I can see this and feel this and I am proud to be working with Project HOPE, an organization dedicated to helping facilitate important and relevant system changes.”
Barbara earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1998 from the University of San Francisco and her Master of Science in Nursing from UCLA in 2008.
Thank you Ms. Demman for giving your time and services to help improve the emergency room nursing skills at KATH and ultimately help to improve emergency treatment outcomes in Ghana.
Juan C. Cotarelo
Juan C. Cotarelo is a Pfizer Global Health Fellow volunteering with Project HOPE India. Juan arrived in New Delhi, India on April 12, 2012 and will be working with Project HOPE in the areas of non communicable diseases until August 2012.
Non Communicable Diseases, namely, heart diseases, stroke, cancer, chronic respiratory illnesses and diabetes are by far the leading causes of mortality in the world, representing 63% of all deaths (WHO). Over 60 million people in India have diabetes, which equates to about 1 in 8 people (IDF-2011).
Juan is working with Project HOPE to design lifestyle improvement programs and inculcation of awareness among the urban Resident Welfare Society Members in the National Capital Region. He is developing communication materials for improved lifestyle behaviors associated with the non-communicable diseases. He is also learning how emerging markets are addressing new challenges such as diabetes, hypertension and other non-communicable diseases and how educational programs can help those in need.
“It is an honor to be serving with the Project HOPE team in India and with the population of those living in urban and semi-urban areas where the prevalence of diabetes and hypertension is high,” says Juan. “By incorporating simple and practical lifestyle changes we all win. Project HOPE has shown me the process of turning thoughts into action. Motivating one-self can and will motivate others whether it’s in the communities we serve or among the counterparts we share with. Giving will lead to sustainability!”
From Miami, Florida, Juan has been working for Pfizer since April 2001 as a Therapeutic Specialty Representative in the areas of pain, cardiovascular, and women’s healthcare. During that time he has been responsible for sales and promotion of Pfizer products in institutions and with healthcare providers. Pfizer has been a dedicated supporter of Project HOPE for more than 50 years, and since 2003, Project HOPE has been strategically placing Pfizer fellows in positions around the globe for 3 to 6 months, making them an integral part of the success of each Project HOPE program.
Thank you Juan for giving your time and services to helping improve the long-term health of populations in India!
Dr. John Triedman
A cardiologist at the Children’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts and a professor at the Harvard Medical School, Dr. John Triedman has been volunteering for Project HOPE at the Shanghai Children’s Medical Center (SCMC) since February 2012.
As a volunteer at the one of HOPE’s flagship programs, Dr. Triedman delivers lectures on pediatric cardiology and teaches clinical skills to the local staff. In addition, he participates in morning rounds, trains residents, provides specialized lectures on arrhythmia and patient safety, and assists the local surgeons with pacemaker implantation operations.
Opened in 1998, SCMC now performs more pediatric heart surgeries than any medical facility in the world, nearly 3500 pediatric heart surgeries each year. HOPE has supported the hospital since before its opening and continues to provide professional health education programs to the staff.
“The hospital performs the largest number of annual pediatric cardiac surgeries in the world, and it is critical to continue enhancing the quality and advancement of cardiac operations at the hospital,” says Dr.
From Brookline, Massachusetts, Dr. Triedman continues to donate his cardiac expertise and knowledge 36 hours per week to HOPE’s longstanding program in China.
Thank you Dr. Triedman, for improving the health of children across the globe with lifesaving health education and care.
Project HOPE participates in the President’s Volunteer Service Award Program, administered by the Points of Light Institute. We recommend our volunteers please go to the website and register. Once you have signed up, enter the Project HOPE Record of Service key GMP-9528.