Every year, we honor employees and physicians whose volunteer work positively impacts their communities in significant ways, inspiring others to take action.
One person spearheaded efforts to increase COVID-19 vaccinations.
Another created a nonprofit that trains and mentors community health workers in Guatemala.
Yet another built and donated desks to youth in need of organized spaces for virtual learning during the pandemic.
The winners of our 2021 David Lawrence Community Service Award — 12 individuals and one team — are dedicated to improving the health of their communities, both locally and abroad.
Since 2003, we’ve presented the award to recognize outstanding community service efforts among our employees and physicians.
“Every year, I’m inspired and amazed by the time and resources our employees and physicians dedicate to improving their communities,” said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief health officer at Kaiser Permanente. “It’s part of our mission at Kaiser Permanente to improve the health of the communities we serve, and these remarkable people certainly personify that mission, even in the face of ongoing challenges from the global pandemic.”
The award is named in honor of David M. Lawrence, MD, a former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and a lifelong advocate for improving health. Kaiser Permanente makes a $10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner to the nonprofit of their choice.
Meet the winners of the 2021 David Lawrence Community Service Award.
Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist
When Archpru identified a need for affordable medical tools, he founded a nonprofit called AirAngel. He started a grassroots effort to identify and make use of existing online resources to develop a 3-dimensional design for a video laryngoscope system, which is used to intubate patients with both normal and difficult airways. After that, Archpru created a website that offered international customer support on how to use video laryngoscopes, as well as information about design printing. The COVID-19 pandemic caused a huge increase in demand for video laryngoscopes and a surge in traffic to AirAngel’s website. To meet the expanded need, Archpru led an effort to create a global network of volunteers to develop 2 pediatric laryngoscope blades and an extra-large adult blade. Thanks to Archpru’s leadership, people in more than 60 countries have benefited from improved access to medical tools.
Mariamae (MaeMae) Bayot
Licensed Vocational Nurse, Pediatric Neurosurgery
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bayot helped coordinate international medical missions to the Philippines and assisted on trips to Mexicali, Mexico, through Operation Smile. When the pandemic impeded travel abroad, she turned her attention homeward to the Inland Empire area in Southern California. She tends to wound checks, blood pressure checks, medications, and diabetic education. Bayot recently helped coordinate a fundraising effort with her Kaiser Permanente colleagues to help construct restroom facilities at a school in the Philippines.
Community COVID-19 Vaccination Events Team
Kimberly Gibu, MSN, RN, pulled together a team that included Mae-Lynne Swoboda; Chelsea Kaneshiro, RN, BSN; and Juana Gonzales. Beginning in February 2021, they worked with community organization leaders and state health officials to bring the vaccine to people facing challenges in getting to mass vaccination sites and to communities with low vaccination rates and high infection rates. The team was the first in the state to conduct outreach to underserved communities to vaccinate residents against COVID-19. In 2021, the team supported 154 COVID-19 vaccination events that helped more than 10,000 people get vaccinated. They shared what they learned across Kaiser Permanente and helped inform our COVID-19 Social Health Playbook.
Dennis Buschman, MD
Dr. Buschman has dedicated over a decade to improving the infrastructure of education in developing countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Namibia, Botswana, and Congo, and in the Philippines. Among many accomplishments, he helped set up 16 preschools and 8 farm schools, and equipped them with the hardware needed to facilitate electronic education. He also raised $120,000 to pay for training and education, teachers and principals, curriculum development, and classroom furniture. Additionally, Dr. Buschman writes grants, plans logistics, and engages with government agencies.
Anna Eckart-Dodd, MD
Internal Medicine Hospitalist
When Dr. Eckart-Dodd moved from Oahu to Maui, she and her wife started a “kalo” (the Hawaiian word for taro) farm to strengthen their relationship with the land and help local Hawaiians. They harvested the kalo, made poi from it, and then donated the poi to community members. Dr. Eckart-Dodd also supports Ke Kula ‘O Pi’ilani, an independent Hawaiian language and Hawaiian culture elementary school, for which she volunteers as vice president of the board of directors. In her role at the school, she developed a COVID-19 safety plan and provided guidance regarding the return to in-person learning.
Kate Feibusch, MD
Physician, Family Medicine
In 2002 Dr. Feibusch began volunteering in Guatemala, where she trained local volunteers from rural villages to be community health workers. In 2012, she returned to the U.S., but continued her work in Guatemala. In 2017, Dr. Feibusch founded a complementary nonprofit, Petén Health, dedicated to training, equipping, and mentoring community health workers in Petén, Guatemala. Petén Health’s first major project was to build a center with classrooms, dorms, and a medical clinic. Her work oversees basic health care provided by 48 community health workers for 28 rural villages that are home to 60,000 people.
Director, Strategic Accounts, Sales and Account Management
In the late 1990s, after losing many friends to the AIDS epidemic, Frey began volunteering for AIDS/Lifecycle, a fundraising, weeklong annual bike ride from San Francisco to Los Angeles. He has served as a ride leader, ride ambassador, and unofficial Kaiser Permanente team captain, training many people with all levels of biking skills. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, Frey coordinated a project involving Kaiser Permanente staff members to create more than 700 packets that included handwritten thank-you notes, masks, lotion, lip balm, and other items for the organization’s front-line doctors and nurses.
Jennifer Graves, RN
Vice President, Quality and Safety, and Regional Chief Nursing Executive
Throughout her life, Graves has raised an estimated $250,000 for a variety of nonprofit organizations and has been a board member or chair for 17 organizations. For more than 20 years, she has focused on improving quality of life for seniors. Through her disaster preparedness work, Graves has served 15 diverse counties in various crisis situations and played a key role in setting up a COVID-19 assessment and recovery center for vulnerable and homeless populations with
Service Area Continuum of Care Director, Home Health
Once homeless himself, Kendrick now volunteers with the Council for the Homeless, a nonprofit based in Vancouver, Washington, to help guide and lead southwest Washington communities through some of their most difficult challenges. These include an increased number of people in need of housing, rental assistance, and employment. His efforts have brought safety and security to thousands of people. Kendrick’s leadership role with the Council for the Homeless directly intersects with the work he does for Kaiser Permanente to ensure that the organization has services and resources in place for elderly members, Medicaid and Medicare recipients, and partner organizations.
Pharmacy Quality Specialist
Much of Pereira’s community service centers on youth sports coaching. She joined the Oregon Women’s Sports Leadership Network to learn advanced skills and encourage other coaches to do community service. She is an active volunteer in her Kenton Neighborhood Association and is a parent volunteer at De La Salle North Catholic High School in Portland, Oregon. As a volunteer for at least 9 organizations over 3 decades, Pereira has impacted the lives of more than 1,500 children in the Portland, Oregon, metro area.
Coordinator, Utilization Management
Through a nonprofit organization called S.L.A.Y. Your Way Mentoring Program that Roberson founded in Georgia, she empowers, elevates, and educates 9- to 16-year-old program participants in the areas of body positivity, bullying, and peer pressure. She also provides tutoring and tips on safety, health, and wellness. Additionally, Roberson volunteers in service of LGBTQ youth, supports Atlanta’s annual Pride Parade, and collaborates with other nonprofit organizations in the Atlanta metro area to serve homeless and youth-oriented charities.
Jason A. Wennet
Senior Creative Manager, Creative and Editorial Services
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Wennet realized that many students lacked safe, organized spaces for learning. A skilled woodworker, he approached local businesses around Baltimore and reclaimed pallets and crates to build desks in his home workshop and deliver them to students’ homes. In 2021, he provided 40 desks to young virtual learners. Many of the students who received desks are participants in initiatives supported by Kaiser Permanente charitable investments, including Future Baltimore and Pathways in Technology Early College High School.
Regional Director and Nurse
When the COVID-19 vaccine became available, Yarnell recruited and led a team of 20 volunteers to administer nearly 4,000 vaccinations over a 3-day period at JBS, a meatpacking plant in Weld County, Colorado, whose employees were heavily impacted by the pandemic. Yarnell and her team also offered educational materials and services to people who were hesitant about receiving the vaccine. Additionally, Yarnell serves as a board member for the Greeley Transitional House, a nonprofit in Greeley, Colorado, that assists people experiencing homelessness, and helps oversee the Emergency Food Program at Kaiser Permanente’s medical offices in northern Colorado.