February 15, 2018

Our workforce helps improve communities around the world

Fourteen honored with 2017 David Lawrence Community Service Awards

Your Kaiser Permanente clinician might spend her vacation in Kenya helping women in remote areas get health care. Your nurse might spend his weekend preparing meals for the homeless. A member services representative could be on a mission trip right now rebuilding homes following an earthquake.

At Kaiser Permanente, many employees and physicians across the organization wear several hats, including one called “volunteer.” Each year, a handful of our inspirational colleagues are recognized as recipients of the National David Lawrence Community Service Award. The award is named in honor of David M. Lawrence, MD, former chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente, and a lifelong advocate for improving community health.

After culling through dozens of nominations, the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Hospitals boards of directors ratified 14 awardees from across the organization. Kaiser Permanente will make a $10,000 charitable contribution on behalf of each winner to the nonprofit organization of their choice.

“It is such an honor to recognize this extraordinary group of individuals who bring so much of their time, talent and commitment to serve others,” said  Bechara Choucair, MD, senior vice president and chief community health officer for Kaiser Permanente.

Awardees are selected because they have shown a significant impact to the overall health of a community or population, such as increasing access to health care for the underserved, eliminating disparities in health outcomes of racial and ethnic minorities, addressing the social determinants of health, and being strong stewards of our natural resources.

“These are individuals drawn to serve in communities — most often in areas with the fewest resources and face the greatest obstacles to receiving even the most basic care,” Dr. Choucair said. “Healthy individuals need healthy communities and healthy communities need healthy individuals. The two go hand in hand and our awardees go above and beyond to improve community health.”

Here are the winners of the 2017 David Lawrence Community Service Awards:

Colorado

Brian Bost, MD, MPH (Internal Medicine and Pediatric Hospitalist; Medical Director of Transgender Services)

Dr. Bost has provided direct medical care in times of need to those displaced by natural disasters, epidemics/outbreaks, as well as refugees from war zones. He has also worked to establish an international nonprofit humanitarian organization that improves health care by building capacity through physician education, nurse mentorship and strengthening health care systems. He has worked in Haiti, South Africa, Kenya, Jordan, as well as in the U.S. His commitment to marginalized patients at home and abroad, including in Colorado, fulfills that commitment.

Lee Gonzalez (Women’s Health Coordinator)

At Colorado Youth at Risk, Gonzalez works with students at risk of not graduating from high school because of such issues as domestic violence, drug use, struggles with sexual identity, eating disorders or gang violence. Gonzalez has volunteered on a number of mission trips, including working with women and men in Cambodia rescued from sex trafficking.

Georgia

Amin Tejani (Director, Enterprise Client Support KPIT)

Tejani volunteers with the Aga Khan Foundation, an organization helping Indian and Pakistan refugee communities in Atlanta, which includes addressing access to quality health care for new migrants. He founded and leads technology courses and manages their volunteer program.

Angelia Dixon-Deberlabon (LPN, Comprehensive Specialty Center Scheduler)

Dixon-Deberlabon volunteers in the infirmary at Camp New Hope, working with sickle cell pediatric patients. Also, for the last two decades, she’s been on several mission trips overseas serving abused and mentally challenged children in orphanages, including a trip to Kenya, where she helped dig wells to provide drinking water to school students.

Hawaii

Daryl Kurozawa, MD, FACS (Associate Medical Director, and Sales and Marketing, Service Delivery Planning and Community Benefit)

Dr. Kurozawa played a significant role in bringing radiation therapy to West Hawaii through the Kona Hospital Foundation, which provides access to radiation therapy services for patients with breast and prostate cancer. Over the course of more than two decades, he has volunteered for 19 nonprofit organizations. Dr. Kurozawa is a honorary life member of the American Cancer Society Hawaii Pacific’s Board of Directors.

Kaiser Permanente makes charitable contribution on behalf Tammi Onaha (center) to the Children’s Alliance of Hawaii.

Tammi Onaha (Department Technician, Same Day Surgery)

Through the Children’s Alliance of Hawaii, Onaha has been supporting parents whose children have been sexually abused. As a volunteer advocate in their Strengthening Parents program, she educates parents about legal processes, therapy, story sessions and opportunities around legislation.

Mid-Atlantic States

Eve Cerna, RN (Perianesthesia)

Cerna goes on medical mission trips to remote villages in Nicaragua, helping set up medical clinics to provide critical care, medical supplies and health education to remote areas. She serves as the medical team leader on these missions, arranging travel, med-packing and care for team members.

Mariana Capati (right) and family.

Mariana Capati (Clinical Operations Manager, Camp Springs Medical Center)

Capati volunteers with Capital Area Food Bank by preparing meals at her home and then delivering them to the homeless. She estimates she prepares and serves 120 home-cooked meals to the homeless a year.

Northern California

Debra Matityahu, MD (Obstetrics-Gynecology)

Dr. Matityahu and her daughter started a nonprofit in Kenya called Beyond Fistula. The organization helps survivors of obstetric fistula (severe childbirth injuries), which occurs in regions of the world where there is limited or no access to health care. Their organization has helped more than 170 women with social and emotional support after surgery, and providing them the opportunity to learn vocational and business skills.

DLCSA winner Megan Williams has been committed to fighting leukemia since she lost her daughter to the disease in 2009. DLCSA winner Megan Williams.

Megan Williams (Pharmacy Technician)

Williams has been committed to fighting leukemia since she lost her daughter to the disease in 2009. She has enlisted more than 18,000 bone marrow donors. Many are Vietnamese, a population with one of the lowest matching rates in the United States. She also worked with California State Sen. Mark DeSaulnier to pass a state law that requires employers in the state to provide sick days to employees recovering from blood marrow donation.

Northwest

Angelette Hamilton (Community Health Navigator)

Hamilton encourages her colleagues to consider ways to reach people where they are, such as bringing health care to barbershops, salons and schools. She also represents Kaiser Permanente by bringing health resources to an annual health and wellness event that serves the African-American community in Portland, Oregon.

Samantha Becker (Senior Systems Administrator, Imaging Informatics)

Becker volunteers with Mountain Ministries, helping individuals with drug and alcohol addiction readjust and transition back to society. When the organization needed someone to take on the management of a transition home for recent graduates, Becker and her husband moved out of their home and moved into the transition home.

Southern California

Kaiser Permanente Fontana/Riverside Volunteer Subgroup of InterFACE

The Kaiser Permanente Fontana/Riverside volunteer group helps provide reconstructive surgery to children in Mexico. The group includes Kaiser Permanente surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, technicians, translators and numerous other employees. Over the past 27 years, the group has provided more than 4,500 life-changing surgeries to children in need.

Maxwell Cheng, OD (Optometry)

Dr. Cheng has led medical missions in Southeast Asia, and North and South America. He has provided eye care to more than 4,500 people living in extreme poverty and led seminars to increase the quality of eye care in other countries. Closer to home, he volunteers for the homeless in Los Angeles.