Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity
This award was established by the INMED Board of Directors to recognize people who demonstrate care and concern for those in need, who give selflessly of their time and resources, and who inspire others to take similar action.
James Fyffe and Family, 2020 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient
The 2020 Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity recipient is James Fyffe and Family. James is a native of Lee’s Summit, Missouri. He lived several years in El Salvador, Central America, serving as a youth pastor. James completed nursing school at St. Luke’s College of Health Sciences and also earned a master’s degree in nursing education. In 2014 at the Humanitarian Health Conference James met personnel from Bach Christian Hospital in Pakistan. The following year, he and wife Rosie, along with their three children, moved to Pakistan where James taught nursing school through 2019 and completed his INMED International Medicine Fellowship. James often speaks of his desire to combine healthcare, his faith, and his Spanish and Urdo language abilities to make a spiritual and physical impact among people in need. Says James, “I love the opportunity to serve and help others, and INMED has given me the chance to use my talents, abilities and education to do just that.”
Don Philgreen, 2019 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient
The 2019 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity recipient is Don Philgreen. His healthcare career of over fifty years began at the University of Chicago School of Medicine followed by a rotating internship at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City. Dr. Philgreen’s first service was two years with the Indian Health Service on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona. He served in private practice in Ottawa, Kansas before becoming the medical director for the LIGHT House and Rachel House crisis pregnancy ministries. Dr. Philgreen began sharing his vision and skills in 1996, joining the faculty at Research Medical Center Family Medicine Residency where he continues to teach. In 2004 he was named the Missouri Family Physician of the Year by the Missouri Academy of Family Physicians and was a runner-up in the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Physician of the Year.
Fred Loper, 2018 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient
As a medical student at the University of Oklahoma, Fred Loper was recruited to help start Good Shepherd Clinic in Oklahoma City – a ministry launched after a homeless man had his wound stitched by a bartender in a local tavern because he had nowhere else to go for treatment. Following graduation, Dr. Loper proceeded to lead the Baptist Medical Dental Fellowship for twelve years, facilitating healthcare in Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Ghana, and Cuba. 2012 through 2016, Dr. Loper was again at the helm of Good Shepherd Clinic, providing medical and dental care to low-income and uninsured people throughout central Oklahoma. In this context he also mentored students from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, who enjoyed the inspiring privilege of witnessing Dr. Loper’s excellence in action.
Lawand Talal, 2017 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient
Compassion is at the center of Lawand Talal’s professional life. This American-trained Kurdish attorney abandoned a lucrative career to instead join the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees of behalf of Syrians searching for asylum in Iraqi Kurdistan. Refugees include the entire spectrum of humanity. Disabled Syrian refugees are Lawand’s specialty, bringing to bear the principles of international law on behalf of those afflicted by cerebral palsy, learning disorders, schizophrenia, paraplegia; in short, people who are the least capable of defending themselves. “We Kurds are a persecuted people, condemned for centuries by foreign lords,” proclaims Lawand Talal. “So, when Syrians fleeing utter terror from ISIS arrive at our borders how can we not but respond with compassion?”
Ted & Kim Higgins, 2016 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipients
As a general surgery resident at Yale University, Ted leaped at the opportunity to serve under mentors for six months at Hospital Albert Schweitzer in Haiti. Inspired through that experience, Ted and his wife, Kim, embarked on a twenty-five-year routine of providing surgical care in Haiti and Dominican Republic – a pattern of service that continues even today. With the vision of further expanding continuity care for residents of these nations, the Higgins mastermined and funded establishment of the Higgins Brothers Surgical Center in partnership with Haiti Christian Missions. With a parallel vision of inspiring future international healthcare volunteers, the Higgins have both financed and provided their expertise for the INMED conference event since its inception.
Gary Morsch, 2015 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipient
“Would serving people in serious need help to fulfill my life?” is a question frequently posed to Gary Morsch. He replies, “People really do want to help one another, but they often don’t know how to do it.” Dr. Morsch has invested his entire life in assisting people discover just how. In 1993 he organized the first Physicians With Heart airlift of goodwill medical supplies to the new Russian Federation. Heart to Heart International grew out of that initiative to become one of today’s leading global humanitarian organizations, providing disaster assistance, healthcare supplies, and primary medical care in Haiti, Nepal, and the United States.
John and Lori Clements, 2014 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipients
Preventable blindness is common in Angola, where childhood infections and older adult cataracts disable otherwise healthy people. In 2011 John and Lori Clements responded to this crisis and a clear call from God upon their lives. John, a fellowship trained ophthalmologist, became an INMED International Medicine Fellow, serving at the Boa Vista Eye Center. John took the long-range approach, and in addition to caring for patients one-by-one he also organized at training program for Angolan national physicians to multiply these skills. Meanwhile Lori Clements, in addition to raising three boys, took a lead in the Association for the Blind, providing craft training for those with more permanent disabilities.
Tim and Lori Myrick, 2013 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipients
Tim and Lori Myrick are transplants to Kansas City. Lori is a labor and delivery nurse and Tim is a family physician, and together they left Kansas City in 1992. Following language school for French, they first served in the Comoros Islands near Madagascar, later In Tunisia in North Africa. After Arabic school they served in Jordan at the Annoor Sanatorium, and most recently in Kenya where they focused on the needs of Somali refugees. Tim has been teaching medical school in northern Somalia, and they both model the reality and vitality of marriage and family on the move.
Wendy and Greg Nyhus, 2012 Comninellis Award for Compassionate Service to Humanity Recipients
Before they ever met, Greg was the business administrator for Kudjip Nazarene Hospital in Papua New Guinea, and Wendy was a nurse serving in Swaziland. After marrying the couple and their children Aiden, Carter, and Sukanya served at Baptist Medical Center in northern Ghana where they coordinated the host of international volunteers. The Nyhus’ also helped establish a chicken farm to support the orphanage, both by providing food to eat and eggs to sell. Greg and Wendy are both graduates of MidAmerican Nazarene University in Olathe, Kansas. Reflecting on his life, Greg observes, “When you follow the Master and are open to His leading, He will usher you on adventures beyond your dreams!”
Scott Armistead, 2011 Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity Recipient
Dr. Armistead is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Kansas City Family Medicine Residency Since 2002 he, his wife Joanne, and their three sons have been living in Pakistan, providing medical care through Bach Christian Hospital. Prior to this they also served at Oasis Hospital in the United Arab Emirates. By virtue of his proximity within Pakistan, Dr. Armistead was a first responder to the devastating Pakistani earthquake of 2005. He is fluent in the Urdo language, an accomplished pianist, avid music teacher, and exemplary medical instructor Pakistani nationals, American healthcare personnel, and INMED international medicine & public health students.
George and Elizabeth Faile, 2010 Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity Recipients
George Faile, Jr., MD, and Elizabeth Faile, RN, have served for over twenty years at the Baptist Medical Center in northern Ghana on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Dr. Faile spent most of his childhood in Ghana and began his medical career providing anesthesia in Yemen. After finished his family medicine residency in 1987, he and Elizabeth moved with their three boys to Baptist Medical Center. Dr. Faile became a “do it all” doctor, learning from visiting specialists, and putting those skills to work once they left. Dr. Faile has mentored dozens of INMED students and residents since 2004, sharing both his vision and skills to enable the “do it all” doctors of the future!
Richard Bransford, 2009 Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity Recipient
Joining the Africa Inland Mission in 1975, Dr. Bransford served in the Congo, the Comoro Islands and at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya. As his career progressed, Dr. Bransford became particularly passionate about the needs of disabled children – an aspect of care frequently overlooked in developing nations. Today Dr Bransford is medical director and pediatric rehabilitation surgeon at Bethany Crippled Children’s Centre in Kijabe, Kenya, providing not only hope for children but also clearly communicating the precious value of these youngsters.
Nicholas Comninellis, 2008 Comninellis Award For Compassionate Service To Humanity Recipient
This award was established by the Institute for International Medicine Board of Directors and is named after the Founder of INMED. Dr. Nicholas Comninellis throughout his entire career has demonstrated care and concern for the needy of the world, giving selflessly of his time and resources, and inspiring others to take similar action in the care of those who are most neglected. He demonstrates the power of exemplary role models in action.