Two physical therapists (PTs) are among the volunteers who have been honored for their efforts to strengthen the health care workforce in some of the world's most in-need places.
Health Volunteers Overseas (HVO), the organization that educates local health care workforces in resource-scarce countries, announced that APTA member Janna Beling, PT, PhD, and Pamela Cole, PT, are among this year's recipients of its "Golden Apple Award" for exceptional contributions to improving global health care. Only a small number of volunteers among all types of health disciplines receive the prestigious award.
Beling, who has been volunteering with HVO for 18 years, has logged more than 100 service days in Suriname, Malawi, and Vietnam, where she currently serves as project director for HVO's physical therapy program at the DeNang Orthopedic and Rehabilitation Hospital. Over her time as a volunteer, she also has mentored more than 60 PT students in global health delivery.
Cole began her service with HVO in Haiti in 2013 at the Hopital Albert Schweitzer in Deschapelles, where she joined HVO's wound management project. A certified wound specialist, Cole was named project director the following year. According to the award announcement from HVO, "[Cole's] work with the site has demonstrated her commitment to relevant and practical education and her profound dedication to improving the lives of the Haitian people."
HVO describes the Golden Apple award as an honor "that recognizes work in curriculum development, mentoring of faculty, students, clinicians, or fellow volunteers, didactic or clinical training, development of education resources, leadership, and/or extraordinary contribution to the sustainability and effectiveness of HVO." Since the awards program's launch in 2006, 19 PTs have received the recognition.