February 22, 2019

Award winners prove compassion has no borders

Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians are recognized for volunteer work to improve community health.

A Kaiser Permanente Georgia employee helps make home-cooked meals for people living on the streets of downtown Atlanta.

A doctor in the state of Washington provides hospice and palliative care for vulnerable populations in Rwanda.

And a nurse in San Diego spends her spare time organizing medical missions to rural communities in Vietnam and the Philippines.

These are just 3 of the stories of 14 remarkable and compassionate Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians throughout the country who are being honored with the 2018 David Lawrence Community Service Award.

A history of inspiring volunteerism

Since 2003, the award has recognized Kaiser Permanente employees and physicians who champion outstanding volunteer work that improves community health. The award is named after David M. Lawrence, MD, a former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente and a lifelong advocate for improving health. Kaiser Permanente will make a $10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner to the nonprofit of his or her choice.

“I am humbled by the inspiring work of this year’s award winners,“ said Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president, and chief community health officer for Kaiser Permanente. “They give unselfishly of their time, their expertise, and their finances to improve individual lives and the health of their communities and communities around the world.”

Here are the winners of the 2018 David Lawrence Community Service Awards:


Peggy Schrieber, MD (General Surgeon)

Dr. Schrieber has been providing surgical and clinical care and training at Mwandi Mission Hospital in Zambia for 19 years. She also recruits and leads volunteers for the hospital. In 2018 alone, volunteers performed 120 life-saving surgeries.



Amelia Togba-Addy, RN (Clinical Supervisor, Advice Nurse Department)

Since 2009, Togba-Addy has worked with a team of medical volunteers who have performed over 1,000 fistula surgeries for young women and girls in Liberia. Her nurses group also provides counseling to young people to prevent unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.


Fatma Gulan makes home-cooked meals for homeless people in Atlanta.
Fatma Gulan makes home-cooked meals for homeless people.


Fatmakhanoo (Fatma) Gulam (Business Consultant, Care Delivery Technology System)

Gulam leads volunteers in making home-cooked meals once a month for up to 200 homeless residents of downtown Atlanta. She designs the meals to be healthy for a wide range of people, including those suffering from diabetes or hypertension.



Margaret Peralta (Senior Management Assistant, Primary Care)

As an active and enthusiastic community volunteer, Peralta participates in or serves as team captain for up to 10 events a year. Some of the many causes she supports include the Susan G. Komen Race for a Cure, Honolulu AIDS Walk, and annual food drives and flu-shot clinics.

Todd Devere, MD (Chief of Neurology)

Dr. Devere has cared for patients with Lou Gehrig’s disease for more than 15 years and is an active volunteer with the ALS Association. He advocates for ALS patients and is a champion of innovation to bring exceptional care to ALS patients in the community.


Mid-Atlantic States


Kaiser Permanente physician Hong-Hanh Chau, MD provides care for uninsured women in her community and abroad.
Hong-Hanh Chau, MD, volunteers in rural Vietnam and in Virginia.


Hong-Hanh Chau, MD (Obstetrics-Gynecology)

Dr. Chau provides care for uninsured women in her community and abroad. She volunteers twice a month at the Arlington Free Clinic, and every summer she goes to rural Vietnam, where she cares for about 700 women who couldn’t otherwise afford to see a doctor.

Paulette Crawford (Drug Use Management Supervisor, Clinical Pharmacy)

As a longtime leader of her local Kiwanis Club, Crawford has led several community events, including a weekend reading program for disadvantaged families, a free weekend meals program for low-income children, and a fundraiser for local college scholarships.


Northern California

Mark Babo, MD (Adult and Family Medicine)

Dr. Babo co-founded Heal Our World, which has provided more than a million patient visits in Kenya and Nigeria. Over 32 years of volunteering, he has established an outpatient clinic and community development program in Kenya and 3 hospitals in Nigeria. He is currently developing a clinic and future hospital in India.

Scott Cohen, MD (Pediatrics)

Dr. Cohen is the founder of Global Pediatric Alliance, a nonprofit that educates lay health workers to reduce preventable maternal and child deaths in rural Latin America. The organization has trained more than 1,400 traditional midwives and health promoters and has installed clean water filters in 400 homes and a local hospital.



Carolyn Garnett (Physician Assistant, Pediatric Orthopedics)

Garnett transformed the Garden Literacy Program at a primary school near Portland, Oregon to help students learn about the connection between food, the environment, and health. She also mentors other school volunteers to create their own garden and health programs.


Southern California

Ene George, MD (Obstetrics-Gynecology and Urogynecology)

As a physician who is deeply committed to helping women who suffer from postpartum fistulas in Nigeria, Dr. George volunteers her time to perform surgeries and educate Nigerian surgeons and clinicians. She also created a foundation to raise funds to support fistula care.

Van K. Tran, RN (Patient Care Services)

After gaining years of experience on medical mission trips, Tran launched her own nonprofit to provide medical care to rural communities in Vietnam and the Philippines. Venture to Heal Medical Missions also provides education to local clinic workers on caring for people with hypertension and diabetes.




Kaiser Permanente physician David Slack, MD co-founded the nonprofit Hospice Without Borders to provide home hospice, palliative care services, and bereavement support to people in Rwanda.
David Slack, MD, co-founded Hospice Without Borders.


David Slack, MD (Hospice and Palliative Care)

Dr. Slack co-founded the nonprofit Hospice Without Borders to provide home hospice, palliative care services, and bereavement support to people in Rwanda. Dr. Slack has also developed a hospice and palliative care outreach clinic for homeless people in Olympia, Washington.

Jennifer Hoock, MD (Family Medicine)

Dr. Hoock founded Guatemala Village Health, which has provided medical care to more than 10,000 people living in remote Mayan villages in Guatemala. The nonprofit also trains local health promotors and lay midwives and implements public health programs.