INMED International Medicine Award
This award recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to health in developing nations or toward the control of HIV in low-resource communities. Award recipients have demonstrated uncommon dedication and endurance in pursuit of this cause.
Monica Rojas, 2021 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
The 2021 INMED International Medicine Award recipient is Monica Rojas, MD. She assisted in the launch of a medical clinic in Costa Rica – one primarily serving undocumented Nicaraguans. The clinic also provides medical care in homes, worksites, schools, and senior centers. During the pandemic, they expanded their service to include distribution of food bags to needy citizens. Today, Dr. Rojas teaches at Arkansas College of Osteopathic Medicine, emphasizing opportunities to learn international health and to serve abroad. Says Dr. Rojas, “No matter where you go, every nation in the world is trying to conquer one common goal: quality healthcare available for all. Health is much more than just going to a doctor’s visit. It is all the social support and networks that connect communities with the vital resources they need in order to become healthy.”
Jeff Colyer, 2020 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
The 2020 INMED International Medicine Award recipient is Jeff Colyer. A plastic surgeon and the 47th Governor of Kansas, Dr. Colyer’s international service experience has been both executive and front lines. As a White House Fellow, he worked in international development, including relations with the Societ Union and additional roles at Cambridge University and the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. And since 1986, Dr. Colyer served with International Medical Corps in numerous warzones, including Rwanda, Libya, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Iraq, and Kosovo. He also set up surgical clinics for Afghan freedom fighters during their war with the Soviet Union. Writes Dr. Colyer, “We were training Afghan medics on the Pakistan side of the border. It was kind of the first, really big training program. We literally were writing the curriculum while we were there.”
Scott Kujath, 2016 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Well known in Kansas City as an exceptional vascular surgeon, Dr. Kujath’s service reaches beyond the city’s borders. In cooperation with First Baptist Church of Raytown, Missouri, heeads the Mission of Hope Clinic, providing primary medical care and dental care to the region’s most under resourced people. Dr Kujath also consistently serves in eastern Africa, both in providing direct medical care, as well as, pioneering in the innovative field of hospice and palliative care in connection with The Living Room, who provides quality of life for Kenyans affected by HIV-AIDS and other life-threatening illnesses. Casting an effective vision for others to follow, Dr. Kujath has generously supported student scholarships for the INMED Conference since 2013.
Meredith Jackson, 2015 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Since 2003 Meredith Jackson, RN, MA, has partnered with Kansas City-based Medical Missions Foundation, and Medical Aid to Children of Latin America (MACLA), to provide surgical specialty care via her twenty-eight trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic, Mani and Uganda. She brings her special qualifications in human resources, pre-op and post-op care, and vascular access to those in these developing nations, as well as at Children’s Mercy Hospital. To nurses considering similar service, Meredith Jackson advises “Jump in and do it. There is usually a role for a nurse with any background who is open to adapting to whatever skill is needed.”
Hayley Stolzle, 2014 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Hayley Stolzle, MPH, a graduate of the Kansas University School of Public Health, in 2011 took her skills to the southern African nation of Botswana. In concert with the Peace Corp, she began serving the Botswana Ministry of Health in delivering to 12 villages health education on teenage pregnancy, sexual abuse, HIV prevention, and safe male circumcision, and empowerment of women. Her particular passions surround addressing the vulnerability of girls and women to HIV, men as partners in sexual health, safe sex negotiation skills and gender equality. Illustrating her commitment to the Botswana people, she has also become highly proficient in Setswana, that nation’s dominate language.
Abigail Rattin, 2014 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Abigail Rattin, MD, MPH, is Medical Coordinator of Action International Ministries. A family physician with public health training at University of Massachusetts Amherst, since 2010 Dr. Rattin as been living and serving in the nation of Uganda, eastern Africa. From her particular experience as mother of a special needs child, she provides direct clinical care, consulting and advocacy for vulnerable children and those children with special needs. In this context she consistently brings to light not only the gravity of such disabilities in Africa, but also effective and culturally appropriate means of preventing and optimizing life and functionality for these individuals.
Jen Agee, 2013 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Since 2009 Jen Agee and her family served in South Africa in the Eastern Cape, both in the townships of Port Elizabeth and the rural region of the Transkei. Jen served as South Africa Director of One Life Child Sponsorship. She brought the tenacity and tough love of a natural mother to her work on behalf of children orphans, particularly through her investment into the Mamas – the local community health care workers. In a country complicated by post-Apartheid policy and incredibly enduring racism, Jen navigated the cultural barriers to equip the Mamas emotionally, socially, and spiritually, to in turn provide exemplary care for these children.
Cathy Hoelzer, 2013 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Cathy Hoelzer is a Physician Assistant and holds an MPH in International Health and Development from Tulane University. She started overseas medical work in 1991 when she volunteered to help in the Kurdish refugee camps. She has since worked in Kurdistan, Afghanistan, Chad, South Sudan, North Sudan, Tanzania and the Philippines. Cathy and her husband currently serve in the Republic of South Sudan bringing health care and the hope of the Gospel in the midst of the largest refugee camp in South Sudan. Cathy is the SIM Health Program Manager in Doro where she manages a wide variety of health programs and works clinically.
Mark Byler, 2012 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Since 2004, Mark Byler, MD, DIM&PH, along with his wife Angie and son Luke, have lived full-time at Sanyati Baptist Hospital, in Zimbabwe, southern Africa. Zimbabwe, once the most prosperous nation in Africa, is today rated as having the worst quality of life of any nation on our planet. Twenty percent of the Zimbabwe’s people are HIV positive and half of all the patients admitted to Sanyati Baptist Hospital are HIV infected. In spite of these odds, Dr Byler is a leader in providing HIV antiretroviral drug therapy to some 200 citizens at a time. He also manages the complications and opportunistic infections associated with HIV, including profound malnutrition, tuberculosis, and PCP pneumonia. In recent years Zimbabwe is witnessing a decline in HIV infection, thanks in part to exemplary healthcare professionals like Dr. Mark Byler.
Steve Foster, 2012 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Dr. Foster and his wife Peggy have lived in Angola, southern Africa, since 1975. The first fifteen years he provided surgical care at the famed Kalukembe Hospital in the midst of Angola’s “blood diamonds” civil war. When he recognized the limitations of international healthcare volunteers like himself, Dr. Foster initiated a residency training program for Angolan physicians. Most recently he partnered with Samaritan’s Purse and the Angolan Association of Evangelicals to establish CEML Hospital, which has been serving the nation since 2005. Reflecting on his life, Dr. Foster says, “I envision the day when I’ll stand before God and account for my life. How can I say that I chose self-indulgence while other people, no matter how far removed, are struggling to survive?”
Brad Gautney, 2011 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
As a pediatric nurse practitioner and public health specialist, he and his family lived four years in Haiti pioneering low-resource HIV care, with particular attention to prevention of mother-to-child transmission of this infection. He also developed a state-of-the-art electronic medical record based on cellular telephone technology to facilitate application of HIV management protocols for both prevention and treatment. Today he leads Global Health Innovations, multiplying HIV care in Haiti and Africa with an emphasis on saving lives one village at a time.
Rob Cheeley, 2011 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Dr Cheeley and his wife Noelani have lived in China since 1992, empowering low-resource populations in the southern Yinnan Province by training community health workers. Dr. Cheeley partners with local governments and healthcare institutions to select individuals for these special roles who are committed to providing continuity of care among China’s ethnic minorities. His role is also to enhance cooperation between China’s formal healthcare institutions and these grassroots health promotion efforts. Dr. Cheeley is also recipient of the China Friendship Award – the highest honor China bestows on non-Chinese citizens.
Thor Swanson, 2010 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Dr. Swanson served at Kijabe Hospital in Kenya during 2006-2007 and has also provided volunteer HIV care in Nepal, Tanzania, and Honduras. Currently, Thor offers HIV medical care at Siouxland Community Health Center in Sioux City, Iowa. He also instructs University of Iowa medical students and residents in the field low-resource HIV care, all the while serving as an ordained associate pastor at Friendship Community Church in Sergeant Bluff, Iowa. Dr. Thor inspires us through his contribution of knowledge and expertise in controlling HIV!
Joe LeMaster, 2010 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Dr. LeMaster is a University of Kansas School of Medicine graduate who went on to later receive a Masters in Public Health in Developing Countries from the London School of Hygiene And Tropical Medicine. Dr. LeMaster and his wife Judy lived in Nepal from 1990-2000, serving at Okhaldhunga Hospital, the only medical care facility for 300,000 people, where they promoted maternal-child health and conducted leprosy research. Presently, Dr. LeMaster is at the University of Missouri-Columbia, teaching family medicine and researching community participation for improving the health of children. Dr. LeMaster is a truly inspiring and devoted man!
Dennis Palmer, 2009 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
For 13 years Dr. Palmer has served the people of Cameroon, Africa, through efforts to prevent HIV transmission from infected mothers to their newborn babies and through providing continuity HIV treatment to thousands of Cameroonians. He also engages in ongoing research into HIV management in low-resource communities. Dr. Palmer is active in training both African physicians and INMED students, and is co-author of the Handbook of Medicine in Developing Countries – the most favored resource in the field of international medical service.
Lani Ackerman, 2009 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
This remarkable physician began her career determined to serve people who were most isolated. She honed her skills as a family medicine resident at John Peter Smith Hospital and during a 6-month assignment at Memorial Christian Hospital in Bangladesh. Lani and her husband Tim went on to serve 8 years in the nations of Nepal and Bhutam, just north of India. She taught family medicine in a national university, served in mission hospitals and orphanages in the Himalayas, and created a community development project that advances agriculture and animal husbandry. Dr. Ackerman continues to inspire the next generation of health care professionals through her selfless career path.
Anil Cherian, 2008 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Anil Cherian, MD, MPH, is Director of Community Health and Development for the Emmanuel Hospital Association in northeastern India. A pediatrician at Chatarpur Christian Hospital since 1995, Dr. Cherian today oversees 24 community health centers and 6 HIV/AIDS treatment centers connected with the Emmanuel Hospital Association – a major indigenous medical mission in India. He is a recognized leader in HIV care and continues to guide development of an HIV prevention program in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, primarily focusing on adolescent health education, STD clinics, and whole person care.
Bruce Steffes, 2008 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Bruce Steffes, MD, is CEO of the Pan African Academy of Christian Surgeons (PAACS), a general surgical training program for African physicians who intend to practice in Africa. Under his leadership, PAACS has expanded the educational curriculum, recruited new program directors, and enlarged the work to include six training sites with twenty-one residents. Prior to assuming the helm of PAACS in 2006, Dr. Steffes served throughout Latin America, Africa, and Asia as a surgical instructor. He also initiated a children’s hospital in Uganda amid enormous obstacles. Dr. Steffes is the author of Medical Missions – Ready, Set, Go.
Patrick Railey, MD, 2007 INMED HIV Leadership Award Recipient
Patrick became skilled with the nuances of HIV as he cared for inner city people during his family medicine residency in Grady, Indiana. “Then as I became involved with medical missions,” says Dr. Railey, “I realized the enormity of human suffering from HIV.” Operation Mobilization, one of the world’s largest international missions organizations, recognized Dr. Railey’s passion and devotion. Since 2005 he has lead appointed him to lead the OM’s HIV care interventions in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Angola, India, China, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Russia, and Lebanon.
Cindy Obenhaus, RN, 2007 INMED International Medicine Award Recipient
Cindy’s visit to Haiti was in 1987, where she was thrust into the harsh realities of living as most Haitians do: without running water, electricity or security. But Cindy was nevertheless inspired by the vision of caring for some of the most neglected people on earth. For the next fifteen years she continued going back to Haiti for two weeks at a time, assisting in mobile clinics, vaccinating, and teaching neonatal resuscitation and management of obstetrical complications to Haitian nurses and medical students. Struck by the fact that most medical care in Haiti was substandard, Cindy and a coalition of Haitian and Kansas City area churches developed a vision for a new birthing center of first-world quality, free to patients, and located in an underserved area. The Maison de Naissance opened in 2004. Since that time over 1000 mothers have given birth, with outcomes far superior to the national average. Says Cindy, “As a Christian, I’m called to go out into the world to step out of my comfort zone. The result is that I’m hopefully more compassionate and more understanding of people who are different than me. Being uncomfortable is good. That’s where you’ll find opportunities to both serve and to grow as a person. Go ahead: Get uncomfortable!”