Meet Our Volunteers





Volunteer Spotlight
 


Jung On Ahn, RN
(San Mateo)
2013 Spirit Award Recipient - Jung On Ahn, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, South San Francisco

Jung On has been volunteering with OA as an OR nurse from the inception of the program at Kaiser Permanente South San Francisco in 1998.  Back in Korea, Jung On always volunteered through her church, but when she came to the United States, she had difficulty finding a way to give back until she found Operation Access a perfect fit. “It was effortless to get involved with OA…(it) was so convenient; it was right under my nose,”
 
Jung On’s work with our patients is infused with her good will. “OA is part of my life.  We get our life, health and blessings from the lord.  There has got to be a way to give back and share. I have received a lot in my life and I am so grateful for the ability to volunteer.”

 

 Gary Barth, MD
(Sonoma)
2013 Champion Award Recipient - Gary Barth, MD, 4th Street Laser and Surgery Center, Sonoma

After having volunteered overseas for years in places like India and Nepal, Dr. Gary Barth established a foundation to provide eye surgery for people in his own Sonoma County community, particularly people who work in the vineyards and other agricultural jobs.
 
Coincidentally, about that time, he found out about Operation Access, and jumped into volunteering with us. For the past two years, Dr. Barth has treated patients on a case by case basis, but he had bigger ideas. On October 26, 2013, “Make a Difference” day, our mutual efforts culminated in a day of surgery during which he, his colleagues and their staff donated their skills and time to correct the vision of two dozen patients.
 
All involved were so inspired, they are hoping to do it again on “Make a Difference Day” 2014. 

 

Philip Chung, MD
(San Francisco)
2013 Legacy Award Recipient - Philip Chung, MD

Dr. Philip Chung has been volunteering with Operation Access since he began practicing at CPMC in 2008.  To date, he has treated 74 patients and accepts one new patient every month.  Although Dr. Chung is a colorectal surgeon, he does not limit his scope and we also depend on him to provide cholecystectomies and hernia repairs.
 
Dr. Chung loves to hear about how patients are getting their lives back together during post-op visits. He recalls one woman, a seamstress, who offered to sew him anything he wanted because she was so happy to be working without pain. On volunteering, Dr. Chung says, “It is a privilege to be able to take care of others.  If you needed help, who would you want to take care of you?  I would want someone who enjoys it as I enjoy volunteering with OA.”


 

Brian Delfanti, MD 
(Marin)
2013 Legacy Award Recipient - Brian Delfanti, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Rafael

Dr. Brian Delfanti receives the legacy award in recognition of his twelve years of dedicated volunteer service and his commitment to caring for the underserved in Marin County. He has never said “no” to a patient referral and, if he is unable to perform a procedure, he will do everything he can to find an appropriate specialist who will take on the case.
 
Dr. Delfanti has always been very motivated to use his surgical skills to help those in need. He believes that, “being able to care for these patients is an honor.” He knows that insured patients will always have access to care, but being able to help patients who don’t have that security makes him appreciate the contribution he can make to the community. He finds caring for OA patients very emotionally rewarding. 

 

James Harwood, MD
(Sonoma)
2013 Spirit Award Recipient - James Harwood, MD, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Dr. James Harwood called our office in early 2009 to “find out what this whole Operation Access thing is all about” and, satisfied with what he found, became one of our most dependable and enthusiastic volunteers.
 
“When I was a surgery resident at UC San Francisco,” Dr. Harwood explained, “I had the good fortune to rotate through SF General Hospital, where there is a large indigent population. I always felt that surgeons have an obligation to give back to society once they become successful. Operation Access presented an opportunity to do just that. It has been very satisfying to provide surgical care for these appreciative patients.”
 
And Dr. Harwood’s patients certainly let us know how they feel. “Thank God and thank you Dr. Harwood, because now I have the possibility of being a normal person, like you told me I would.”

 

 Margaret Holmes, RN
(Alameda)
2013 Champion Award Recipient - Margaret Holmes, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Fremont

Margaret Holmes is the Service Unit Manager for the Ambulatory Surgery Center at Kaiser Permanente Fremont. She began volunteering with Operation Access on July 1st, 2006 at the suggestion of Dr. Srinivas Ramchandra. Since then, Margaret has been instrumental in the coordination and organization of 38 surgery sessions, and has attended most of them.
 
Margaret volunteers with OA because working in the OR and ED, she has experienced, first-hand, the huge need in the community.  Recognizing that meeting that need is a task for many, she says of her efforts, “Maybe it is a drop in the bucket, but it is a drop.”
 
Dave Hansen, another dedicated volunteer, says that “Maggie is a ‘get it done’ person. She is a leader who includes the whole team in providing care to OA patients. Maggie is a kind and gentle soul.”

 

Sari Kasper, MD
(Contra Costa)
 
2013 Spirit Award Recipient - Sari Kasper, MD, John Muir Health, Walnut Creek 

Dr. Sari Kasper’s volunteer engagement began during her residency when she participated in a medical mission to Honduras and lend her surgical expertise to a local hospital team there. Recognizing that foreign missions do not always mesh with private practice, Dr. Kasper joined the OA volunteer team in 2010.  Her spirit of volunteerism has infused her colleagues in her practice, OB-GYN Specialists in Walnut Creek, such that now four of the five female physicians volunteer with OA.
 
Dr. Kasper has provided over 20 life changing surgical procedures ranging from myomectomies to laparoscopic hysterectomies. Despite the complexity of some the cases we ask her to accept, Dr. Kasper has never refused to treat an OA patient.  She also volunteers at the John Muir Health Mobile Health Clinic through which she has connected patients with Operation Access.  

 

Sabrina Kidd, MD
(Marin)
2013 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Sabrina Kidd, MD, Marin General Hospital

Dr. Sabrina Kidd, a colorectal surgeon and member of the Prima Medical Group, is a truly impressive volunteer. Since beginning to work with OA three years ago, she has cared for 24  patients, and despite her busy schedule, has always found a way to accommodate every referral request and has never refused a case and or a request. 
 
When we recently asked if she could expand  her scope to include GI services in addition to colorectal care, she agreed immediately and without question.
 
Dr. Kidd always takes the time to fully explain a situation and to ensure that every patient completely understands his/her condition and the procedure. She is always armed with an embracing smile that reassures patients however unfortunate their situations may be. She is truly a humble, unsung asset to the Operation Access program.

 

Jeffrey Lehmer, MD
(Alameda)
2013 Legacy Award Recipient - Jeffrey Lehmer, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Union City

Having more than 17 years of experience as a vitro-retina specialist, Dr. Jeffrey Lehmer is one OA’s most dedicated volunteers. He began his OA tenure on November 2, 2007, and, since then, he has participated in 60 monthly eye clinics and has treated 229 patients. Procedures include diabetic retinopathy screenings, laser treatments, and retinal surgeries.
 
Victoria Guild-Christo, VSA, a fellow volunteer, says of Dr. Lehmer, “It is very refreshing and … a blessing to work with someone as caring and selfless as Dr. Lehmer.  He exudes kindness and understanding to all that he comes in contact with.  … He goes out of his way to provide excellent care.  He works tirelessly to give his best to everyone.  I feel very blessed to be able to assist him and the patient's he serves at Kaiser and Operation Access."


 

Margarita Ortiz, MA
(Contra Costa)
2013 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Margarita Ortiz, MA, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Antioch

Medical Assistant Margarita Ortiz, began working with OA in 2008 and was one of the first volunteers on board when Operation Access implemented services at Kaiser Permanente/Antioch in 2009.  Our service volume in Contra Costa County has grown 750% in the past five years, and Margarita’s responsibilities have kept up with the pace. She has scheduled over 100 general surgery consultations in preparation for over 30 surgery sessions at both Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek and Antioch. She provides medical interpretation for most of the consultations and assists with patient care at Surgery Sessions.
 
Margarita shares her knowledge at her local church in Oakley where she reaches out to the uninsured community and connects them with local resources.  She has become a pillar for Operation Access and a true hero for the Contra Costa community.

 


Myrna Reroma, MD
(San Francisco)
2013 Unsung Hero Award Recipient - Myrna Reroma, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco

Myrna Reroma, who is an OR nurse, has been volunteering with Operation Access since 2000.  She attends virtually every surgery session at Kaiser SF and is always one of the most enthusiastic participants. Myrna has been dedicated to OA and the patients we serve for thirteen years, and, in just the past six years, she has volunteered at 17 sessions.
 
Volunteering means everything to Myrna; she believes it is part of her life and her obligation to society as a whole.  Myrna is upbeat and sets a great tone for the team. She never complains and never cancels; she continues to sign up for surgery sessions year after year; and, she arrives at each surgery session with a smile on her face. 
 
Myrna is an inspiration for her great attitude and her complete selflessness demonstrated in her volunteerism.   

 

Lorne Rosenfield, MD

(San Mateo)
 
2013 Champion Award Recipient - Lorne Rosenfield, MD, Peninsula Plastic Surgery

Dr. Lorne Rosenfield established his own charitable foundation to facilitate donating care to as many patients as possible. And, since he began volunteering with OA, he has maintained an exceptional pace.  In less than three years, he has cared for 107 patients and continues to accept every patient that we send his way. 
 
In addition to patient care, Dr. Rosenfield has made presentations to community clinics to expedite referral processes and has reached out to local institutions for medical supplies and equipment donations. 
 
Dr. Rosenfield volunteers because he believes that, “  the concept, the endeavor, the mission to give back to the community, to those less fortunate, should be nonnegotiable…. and to do otherwise, is really inexcusable…I have and always will challenge myself and others to live up to this higher bar, every hour of every day.”  

 


Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Antioch
(Contra Costa) 

2013 All Hands On Deck Award Recipient - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Antioch

Since their first Thanksgiving Super Surgery Session in 2010, the volunteers at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Antioch have been committed to serving as many OA patients as possible in a single day. The momentum continued this year when over 100 volunteers from departments throughout the hospital came together for the annual even on November 16, 2013.

For most of the group, this was their fourth Super Surgery Session in a row. Thanks to the outpouring of energy, the team ran 8 operating rooms and 2 GI suites and provided a variety of procedures for 30 patients. 

The All Hands on Deck spirit motivated clinicians from neighboring Kaiser medical centers to volunteer, as well as community members who provided medical interpretation services. With the high need for specialty care in East Contra Costa County, Kaiser Antioch Medical Center volunteers know that they are making a difference in the community throughout the year, but especially every November.

 




 

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.