Meet Our Volunteers




Bruce Allen, MD
(San Mateo)
2012 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Bruce Allen, MD, Mills Health Center

Bruce Allen, MD, a dedicated volunteer since 1995, never turns down a case. A general surgeon practicing at Mills Health Center, Dr. Allen has donated 48 surgical procedures to patients in need since his early years of practice at Mount Zion. Dr. Allan became an early OA volunteer because of his profound respect for his mentor and OA Co-Founder, Dr. William Schecter. “[Dr. Schecter] sets a great example and I am very grateful to have an easy way to donate my time.”

Aaron Baggs, MD
(Contra Costa)
2012 Champion Award Recipient - Aaron Baggs, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Richmond

Dr. Aaron Baggs has been an enthusiastic volunteer since 2004. Dr. Baggs has served 56 patients, who always feel well taken care of because he is compassionate and, for his Spanish speaking patients, fl uent in their native language. His reason for volunteering: “OA identifi es people who have a problem that is limiting their life and provides me an opportunity to use my knowledge and skills to fi x that problem.”

Faraz Berjis, MD
(Alameda)
2012 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Faraz Berjis, MD, Alta Bates Medical Center, Berkeley

Dr. Faraz Berjis, Gastroenterologist, has provided valuable services to 32 OA patients since 2006. He is always very respectful of his patients, regardless of insurance status and wishes he could do more for the community. In his own words: “I volunteer with OA because it’s a pleasure to give back [to the community].”

 

Julie Clark, MD
(Sonoma)
2012 Champion Award Recipient - Julie Clark, MD, Petaluma Valley Hospital

Dr. Julie Clark, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist has volunteered with Dr. Fiona Redwood since 2008. Her work at the Petaluma Health Center allows Dr. Clark to provide both continuity and high quality care for her patients, regardless of their income or insurance status. Dr. Clark characterizes her volunteering as “a team effort…It’s really heartening to be able to take care of people who desperately need surgical intervention and allay their fears about being in debt up to their eyeballs for the rest of their lives.”

Anne Delaney, MD
(Marin)
2012 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Anne Delaney, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Rafael

Dr. Delaney, a Plastic & Reconstructive specialist, has been an OA volunteer since 2001, and has provided 51 services. Dr. Delaney’s fluency in Spanish helps her connect to many of her patients. In addition to local volunteering, Dr. Delaney often volunteers in developing countries, most recently Ethiopia, providing cleft palate and skin graft procedures. Dr. Delaney believes that: “All patients deserve to receive the surgeries that will make their lives better.”

David Galland, MD
(Marin)
2012 Legacy Award Recipient - David Galland, MD, Marin General Hospital

Dr. Galland, a Gynecologist, has provided his expertise and enthusiasm as a volunteer since 2004. He always takes the time to thoroughly explain the risks and benefits of having surgery so that his patients fully understand their options. As a former OA patient, Sindy, once said, “I have always been afraid of  hospitals and anything related to them, but Dr. Galland was so kind, patient and careful when explaining the benefits of surgery, that I felt confident it was the right step to take.“

Karen Kruse, RN
(San Francisco)
2012 Legacy Award Recipient - Karen Kruse, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco

Karen Kruse, RN, has been an active and dependable volunteer since 1995. As an ASU nurse, Karen’s role with the program is vital. She is usually the first to arrive and thanks to her punctuality, surgery sessions consistently start on time. She will not rest to socialize, drink coffee, or grab a bite to eat until all the patients are ready for surgery. Karen encourages colleagues to get involved and steps up to the plate when needed to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Eric Mariotti, MD
(Contra Costa)
2012 Spirit Award Recipient - Eric Mariotti, MD, John Muir Health

Dr. Eric Mariotti, a Plastic Surgeon, has been a volunteer since 2010. During the past two years, he and his Physician Assistant, Sarah Kaplan have provided 24 donated services, including skin biopsies and breast cancer excisions. Dr. Mariotti and his team are always willing to take on complex cases. Why does he volunteer? “I have been blessed with a job that I love. Being a doctor [gives back so much to me], that I feel it is my privilege, honor, and duty to give back to our community.”

Leticia Noveras, RN
(San Mateo)
2012 Legacy Award Recipient - Karen Kruse, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, South San Francisco

Leticia Noveras, RN, has been a PACU volunteer since 2006. She always fi nds the spot where she is most needed – and fi lls it. Be it admitting patients or adjusting her schedule in response to other volunteers, Leticia is ready, willing, and able to fi ll any gap to ensure that surgery sessions run without a hitch. Giving back to the community and helping those is need is very important to Leticia, who has participated in almost every surgery session since day one.

 

Gale O'Connor, CRNA
(Sonoma)
2012 Spirit Award Recipient - Gale O'Connor, CRNA, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Rosa

Gale O'Connor, a volunteer since 2009, plays a critical role organizing every Saturday surgery session by coordinating the anesthesia schedule, and ensuring there is coverage to run the session. In addition, she is a consistent participant in surgery sessions, providing her warmth and skills to OA patients. Gale, also known by her peers as “The Angel of the OR”, is their inspiration: “She is the hardest worker and the most stellar anesthetist… and she always makes time in her busy schedule to help.”

Mark Wadley, ORT
(Alameda)
2012 Legacy Award Recipient - Mark Wadley, ORT, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fremont

Operating Room Technician Mark Wadley, has been a dedicated volunteer since 2006. Mark is often the first to arrive at every Saturday surgery session. His enthusiasm is contagious and he energizes every OR he works in. The support Mark provides his colleagues is invaluable and helps the team serve four ophthalmology patients in one OR during each Saturday session. Mark shares, “I volunteer with OA to help [low-income] people who don’t have insurance.”

Juliet Wong, RN
(San Francisco)
2012 Champion Award Recipient - Juliet Wong, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco

Juliet Wong, RN, a key member of the team since 2003, has attended almost every surgery session while balancing full-time work and raising two children. With such a busy work and home life Juliet says that, “OA is the easiest way [for me] to volunteer. I know what I’m doing and it is [a very] convenient way to give back.” In addition to regularly volunteering, Juliet fi nds creative ways to recruit others. Who can say no to baked goods and children with smiling faces?

Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Redwood City
(San Mateo)
2012 All Hands On Deck Award Recipient - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Redwood City

The Kaiser Redwood City team stands out for their strong commitment, positive attitude, and endless enthusiasm. The team is comprised of a core group who consistently works together at surgery sessions with no signs of burnout. It seems that the more they volunteer, the more willing they are to continue volunteering. ASU nurse, Tina Mulready, RN, once suggested that they “should do this at least fi ve times a year” rather than the customary four. The team works as one, moving from pre-op, to the OR, and to recovery. An atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation pervades every Saturday surgery session, and each member gladly stays late so that extra patients can be served. It is a joy and an inspiration to work with this dedicated team.



Volunteer Spotlight
 

William Bassett, MD
(Contra Costa)
Dr. William Bassett is a Urologist with Kaiser Permanente, living and working in Contra Costa County. He began volunteering with Operation Access in 2010, fulfilling a long-term desire of his to participate in an organized effort to provide healthcare for the medically underserved. Dr. Bassett has made it a priority to partner with OA and Kaiser Permanente to deliver quality healthcare to patients who cannot afford the procedures they need.

Gloria Brillantes, RN
(San Mateo)
Gloria Brillantes, an operating room nurse at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco, has volunteered with Operation Access (OA) since 1998. For Gloria, Gloria is an outspoken advocate for the San Mateo county low-income, uninsured population, and believes that it is important for medical professionals to help them by “giving back”.

Her positive attitude is contagious, and she actively recruits her colleagues to volunteer with OA to provide care for the most vulnerable population free of charge. The passionate and dedicated team that she leads has provided life changing procedures for 110 people since 1998.

David Claiborne, MD
(Marin)
Dr. David Claiborne, an ophthalmologist at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael, who has worked with us since 2009, regularly attends the Eye Clinics, which he helped to launch and actively promotes OA among his colleagues. Every quarter, Dr. Claiborne and a team of nurses, medical assistants, and other ophthalmologists stay after hours to evaluate low-income, uninsured patients in need of surgery. Even Dr. Claiborne’s son Alex, a high school student, volunteers at the Eye Clinics as a Spanish interpreter

Brad Drexler, MD
(Sonoma)
Dr. Brad Drexler, an Obstetrician/Gynecologist who has practiced in Healdsburg since 1991, is a “go to” volunteer who cares for both Operation Access patients, and patients at Vista Family Health Center, a community clinic in Santa Rosa. A fluent Spanish speaker from his days living in Mexico, Dr. Drexler is able to communicate with all of his patients, many of whom are Latino and who often work in the vineyards of Sonoma County. Giving back to the community has always been a central part of Dr. Drexler’s work.

Barbara Gregory, RN,
(Contra Costa)
Barbara Gregory, RN, was an Operation Access volunteer since Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek joined the network in 2007. In that time, she did not miss a surgery session and poured her soul into her volunteerism. Barbara was always “there” for Operation Access patients, assuring that everyone feels comfortable prior to their surgeries. Barbara recently retired from nursing. OA thanks you Barbara for all you’ve done.

Erich Horn, MD
(Alameda)
Erich Horn, MD, an ophthalmologist at Eye MD Laser and Surgery Center and Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, has been a dedicated volunteer for Operation Access since 2005. Dr. Horn provides cataract and pterygium surgeries for those in need. One patient said of him, “Through Dr. Horn’s participation, I am able to see well again and enjoy day to day life. Dr. Horn treated me in an excellent manner in all of the pre-surgery appointments, during the surgery and afterwards.”

Sumit Kohli, MD
(Sonoma)
Sumit Kohli, MD, a Gastroenterologist, performs diagnostic colonoscopies and upper endoscopies for OA patients at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. Dr. Kohli volunteers with OA regularly, along with his Digestive Health Consultants of Northern California partners, Drs. Faust, Hornberger, Lustberg, Auld, and Ghassemi. In addition to his work with OA, Dr. Kohli also volunteers at Southwest Community Health Center.

Crystine Lee, MD
(Marin)
Crystine Lee, MD, a General and Bariatric Surgeon, has performed dozens of cholecystecomies and hernia surgeries for OA patients at Novato Community Hospital and Marin General Hospital. Dr. Lee has been volunteering regularly since 2009, and believes that excellence must be delivered with compassion and a personal touch. She even made a house call once when an OA patient was having some post-operative pain.

Bill Lewis, MD
(Alameda)
Dr. Bill Lewis, a head and neck surgeon at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, has been an OA volunteer since 2010. His interests are Humanitarian medicine and relief work. In 2000, he was awarded the American Academy of Otolaryngology -Head and Neck surgery's Humanitarian Fellowship Award. With their support, as well as that of the Ear Research Foundation and the PRASAD Project, he traveled and spent a year in an impoverished region of India where he helped develop clinical services in Ear, Nose, and Throat for a population of over 200,000 people.

John Long, MD
(San Francisco)
Dr. John Long, a vascular surgeon who practices in San Francisco, is one of OA’s most senior and most active volunteers. Close to 100 patients have had the good fortune of receiving Dr. Long's compassionate care since 1996 when he was searching for a local volunteer opportunity and colleagues directed him to, the then relatively new, Operation Access.

Dr. Long performs varicose vein repairs and finds satisfaction in enabling his OA patients, many of whom are in the service industry, to remain standing longer with less pain, as well as improving their appearance. In addition to looking and feeling better, Dr. Long knows that his patients value and appreciate the care they receive.

Robert Mickel, MD
(San Francisco)
Robert Mickel, MD an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist in San Francisco, has been an OA volunteer since 1996. He has not only shown great compassion toward his patients, but has also promoted the program within his own practice: all of the physicians in the San Francisco ENT Medical Group volunteer with OA. The volume of ENT referral requests is consistently high, and Dr. Mickel’s commitment to the program has been critical to our ability to serve these patients.

Andrew Moyce, MD
(Alameda)
Dr. Andy Moyce, an ENT specialist who recently retired, volunteered with Operation Access for 6 years and cared for over 60 OA patients. In addition to working with OA, Dr. Moyce has volunteered with La Clinica in East Oakland, and has participated in Christian medical missions to Mexico and Central and South America. Dr. Moyce’s career has been centered on service and giving back. Although he no longer has surgical privileges, he plans to continue volunteering at local clinics, and expects to refer needy patients to Operation Access when surgery is required.

John Ngai, MD
(San Mateo)
Dr. Ngai, a general surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Redwood City, has inspired other surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and technicians to volunteer with him for quarterly “Saturday Sessions” since 2002. Dr. Ngai believes that physicians can make a difference right here at home where there is so much need and regularly donates his skills to the underserved in his community In 2011, Dr. Ngai received the Volunteer of the Year Award from the Volunteer Center of San Francisco/San Mateo for his OA activities, and is also a winner of the national Jefferson Award for Volunteerism sponsored by TV station KPIX.

Timothy Sowerby, MD
(Marin)
Dr. Timothy Sowerby is a Gastroenterologist at Marin Gastroenterology, who practices at Marin General Hospital and the Endoscopy Center of Marin. Since 2000, he has provided hundreds of GI procedures free of charge for Marin patients through Operation Access, and actively recruits new volunteers. He is an articulate and outspoken advocate for the county’s low-income, uninsured population. and has shown dedication and commitment to Operation Access for over a decade.

Albert Wetter, MD
(San Mateo)
Albert Wetter, MD, a General Surgeon affiliated with Peninsula Medical Center, has been treating OA patients since 2008. Dr. Wetter not only takes the time to serve low-income patients in his community, he also enthusiastically promotes the program to his colleagues and to the public. Dr. Wetter joined Lucia Martel-Dow for an interview on Univision’s morning show, “Al Despertar” in June.