HVO honors 10 AAOS fellows for humanitarian efforts
At a special luncheon yesterday Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO) presented the President’s Volunteer Service Awards to 10 AAOS fellows. HVO recognized these volunteers for their exceptional work in service at both the local and global levels.
The award recipients are: Jay S. Cox, MD; David E. Denzel, MD; Richard C. Fisher, MD; Richard J. Kemme, MD; Salvatore J. LaPilusa, MD; Kirk Lewis, MD; W.W. Schaefer, MD; David A. Spiegel, MD; Robert E. Stein, MD; and Lewis G. Zirkle, MD.
Meet the winners
Dr. Cox is both a volunteer and a leader within HVO. “The ability to serve with HVO at numerous sites and to aid in the teaching of on-site physicians has truly enriched my retirement years,” he says of his experiences. “My wife has accompanied me on most trips and together we have found great joy and satisfaction in serving others.”
Dr. Denzel was selected for his outstanding work in Ethiopia, South Africa and Uganda. He has a long involvement with the project in Uganda, having served as its program director since 1996. “In the past few years, I have had the privilege to work with Ugandan orthopaedic surgeons that I have helped train,” said Dr. Denzel when asked to reflect on his experiences. “Some of these young surgeons have established orthopaedic treatment centers throughout Uganda even in the remote areas that have never had any specialty medical care.”
During the past 20 years, Dr. Fisher has volunteered his time and expertise in Peru, Uganda, Bhutan, Vietnam and Bangladesh; he also served as medical director of an HVO rehabilitation training project in Mozambique for 18 months in the early 1990s. “Working side by side with your local colleague, solving common problems in new and innovative ways is a learning experience beyond compare for both. The development of such professional friendships bridges all cultural and political boundaries,” said Dr. Fisher.
Dr. Kemme was selected for his contributions to the improvement of orthopaedic care in Malawi, a small land-locked country in southern Africa. “Dr. Kemme’s commitment and support were instrumental to the improvement of orthopaedic care in Malawi,” says Nancy Kelly, MHS, executive director of HVO. “He literally has devoted years of his life to supporting the training program in Malawi and assuring that needed resources and support were made available to the students and graduates of the program.”
Dr. LaPilusa has volunteered in Vietnam, Indonesia, Bhutan and Bangladesh. “My experience with HVO gave me much pleasure especially in learning the culture of various countries and I enjoyed working in local hospitals,” he says.
Since 1992, Dr. Lewis has made 13 trips to Tanzania and Malawi to share his knowledge of orthopaedics. He has also served as an HVO volunteer in St. Lucia and Uganda. The value of service and volunteerism “is in gaining more perspective on where you are. It teaches humility by opening doors of knowledge that you never knew existed,” says Dr. Lewis of his experiences overseas.
Dr. Schaefer was recognized for his long-term commitment to improving access to orthopaedic care in Tanzania. He developed an orthopaedic training program at the Bugando Medical Center in Mwanza, Tanzania, and subsequently made 14 additional trips there. He also served as a volunteer with HVO in South Africa. Prior to serving with HVO Dr Schaefer served as an orthopaedic surgeon at the Esperanza Hospital in Santarem, Brazil and at the HCJB Hospital in Shell Ecuador.
Dr. Spiegel, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon on staff at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is a frequent volunteer in Nepal, where he has an appointment as a consultant in orthopaedic surgery at the Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre for Disabled Children in Banepa. He has also been active in the development of resource and educational materials, authoring the Bibliography of Orthopaedic Conditions in Developing Countries. He serves on the Advisory Board of the Ponseti International Association for Clubfoot Treatment, as well as being involved in the World Health Organization’s Global Initiative for Emergency and Essential Surgical Care.
Dr. Stein was recognized for his long-term commitment to improving access to orthopaedic care in Bhutan, a small country located in the Himalayas. In 1992, he developed a training program there at the request of the government. At the time there were no trained orthopaedic surgeons in the country and most serious orthopaedic cases had to be referred to India for treatment. “While it is gratifying to improve the life of each individual patient we take care of,” says Dr. Stein, “the greatest satisfaction comes from the information and instruction we leave behind. We know many will benefit in the future from what we have contributed while we were there.”
The 2007 Humanitarian Award winner, Dr. Zirkle is also being honored by HVO for his outstanding work in teaching orthopaedics during his 21 inter-national assignments in Vietnam, Indonesia and Peru. When asked about his impressions of his volunteer experiences he stated, “Lasting friendships with surgeons throughout the developing world is a gift received by periodic visits.”
In the last two decades, HVO has placed more than 4,000 highly trained and dedicated health care professionals to fulfill more than 5,500 volunteer assignments in 43 countries. HVO volunteers work to increase health care access in developing countries through clinical training and education programs in child health, primary care, trauma and rehabilitation, essential surgical care, oral health, infectious disease, nursing education and burn management. For more information about volunteering, please contact the HVO Program Department at (202) 296-0928 or visit the Web site: www.hvousa.org