Meet Our Volunteers

Volunteer Spotlight: 2015 Award Recipients

Mary Jane McGeoy, RN, MSN (far right)
(San Mateo)
Spirit Award - Mary Jane McGeoy, RN, MSN, Orchid Center Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, South San Francisco

Mary Jane McGeoy, RN, MSN was one of the first people to volunteer for Operation Access (OA) when the program partnered with the Orchid Center two years ago. Mary Jane's dedication to OA is exemplified by her actions. She is the first to arrive, last to leave, and is the "go-to" volunteer during surgery sessions when questions come up. Mary Jane is also an integral part of surgery-session planning. She helps in the recruitment of physicians, nurses, and other staff needed at each session, and makes sure the clinic runs smoothly as patients arrive to receive a cataract surgery or a colonoscopy.


Allan Hill, MD
Champion Award - Allan Hill, MD, Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation

Dr. Allan Hill, a general surgeon with Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation in Santa Rosa, has volunteered with OA since 2010. Despite a very busy schedule, he and his colleagues are an essential part of OA’s program in Sonoma County. Already an active volunteer, Dr. Hill treated 12 additional OA patients during Sutter Health's Gift of Surgery Month last August, and he encourages his partners to get involved. He recently agreed to see patients in need of varicose vein and thyroid surgery, in addition to the hernia and gallbladder surgery, and lipoma excision cases he sees.  Dr. Hill is a true champion and this award is well deserved. As a dedicated volunteer, Dr. Hill proudly wears his OA t-shirt and says, "the reward comes from seeing the patients get healthy and that's all I need."


Annette Kwon, MD
(San Francisco)
Unsung Hero Award - Annette Kwon, MD, San Francisco Endoscopy Center

Dr. Annette Kwon, a gastroenterologist volunteer with Operation Access since August of 2010, has provided approximately 30 colonoscopies and endoscopies to OA patients at the San Francisco Endoscopy Center. The patients she serves are all symptomatic and would otherwise have no options to receive the care they need. Since joining OA, Annette never turns down a case and is always willing to add a patient to her already very busy schedule.


Laurie Smith, RN
Legacy Award - Laurie Smith, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Santa Rosa

Laurie Smith, a Post-Anesthesia Care Unit nurse at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, has been volunteering with Operation Access (OA) since the program started serving patients there in 2001. She is always eager to dedicate her Saturday mornings to OA and is disappointed when she is out of town and misses a surgery session. Laurie's enthusiasm for volunteering is contagious, and she always encourages her colleagues to get involved. Whether providing care for a patient during an OA surgery session or during the work week, or caring for her goats and chickens on her farm, Laurie demonstrates empathy for the lives of others through her actions. Laurie is kind, compassionate, and dedicated, and is truly deserving of the Legacy Award, which she accepts on behalf of her team at Kaiser Santa Rosa Medical Center. Thank you Laurie for your continued dedication to OA!


Joel Erickson, MD
Spirit Award - Joel Erickson, MD, Sonoma Vein Cardiovascular Laser Group, Laser Light Treatment Center

Dr. Joel Erickson, a vascular specialist at Sonoma Vein Cardiovascular Laser Group and Laser Light Treatment Center has been an active volunteer since 2014. He came on board to help treat a high volume of patients referred to OA for vascular procedures. Once Dr. Erickson started accepting referrals he quickly realized the substantial impact he and his colleagues could make. He recruited his whole team and they began treating OA patients at both Sonoma Vein and Laser Light Treatment Center. In just over two years Dr. Erickson, Dr. Ballesteros, Carla Evans, FNP-BC,  and the team have provided 130 U/S, sclerotherapy, and ablation procedures to patients in need.


 Prakash Raygor, MD
(Contra Costa)
Champion Award - Prakash Raygor, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Antioch

Dr. Prakash Raygor, an anesthesiologist, has volunteered with Operation Access since 2008 and has attended over 15 surgery sessions throughout the Diablo Service area (Antioch, Walnut Creek, and Martinez). In 2013 he stepped in as the Anesthesia lead for OA at Kaiser Permanente Antioch, Walnut Creek, and Martinez. In this role Dr. Raygor always makes sure that there are enough Anesthesia volunteers at each OA session. Dr. Raygor has also taken an active role in recruiting others (nurses, surgeons) to volunteer at OA sessions throughout the year.


Jay Belani, MD
Unsung Hero Award - Jay Belani, MD, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Rafael

Dr. Jay Belani, a urologist at Kaiser Permanente San Rafael has been an exemplary volunteer for over seven years. He regularly integrates OA patients into his own surgery schedule and engages his colleagues to do the same. Despite busy schedules, and with a sincere desire to help and heal, Dr. Belani and his team of nurses are always willing to see OA patients. Their efficiency triaging and navigating referrals to the appropriate specialist, radiology department, or diagnostic service is vital to our ability to care for our uninsured patients with urological conditions. If a patient's condition is outside of Dr. Belani's areas of expertise, he and his team are quick to engage the rest of the department to find a proper speciialist. When Dr. Belani’s team takes on a case, the patient will be well taken care of, no matter what the circumstance. Congratulations to Dr. Belani and his team for this well-deserved honor.


Janet Cuschieri, RN
(San Mateo)
Legacy Award - Janet Cuschieri, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Redwood City

Janet Cuschieri, RN, a dedicated OR nurse volunteer with Operation Access since 2003, has participated in most Kaiser Permanente Redwood City OA surgery sessions over the past 13 years. She has donated her expertise at over 18 surgery sessions so far and shows no signs of slowing down. On the few occasions that Janet is unable to attend a surgery session she still plays an active role by spreading the word and encouraging colleagues to sign up for the day. Janet’s unwavering commitment to OA for over a decade is a blessing. Thank you!    

Nimfa Wroblewski, RN
Spirit Award - Nimfa Wroblewski, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Leandro and Fremont

Nimfa Wroblewski, an endoscopy nurse has volunteered with Operation Access since 2012. Nimfa regularly attends surgery sessions because she wants to help as many people as she can and she wants to set a good example for her family. Her daughter and niece also regularly volunteer for OA. At a young age her father instilled in her the importance of helping others. Nimfa knows that the biggest impact she can make in the community is to donate her skills.


Leslie Kardos, MD
(San Francisco)
Champion Award - Leslie Kardos, MD, California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

Dr. Leslie Kardos, a gynecologist at California Pacific Medical Center and volunteer with Operation Access since 2011 has provided over 27 services to women in need of a specialist. These surgeries are life changing procedures that dramatically improve the quality of life of her patients. Dr. Kardos  is an active volunteer and has recruited colleagues to volunteer as well. She knows it is important to give back to the community, and feels that the biggest impact she can make is to donate her skills so that others can get healthy again.  


Rose Chua, RN
(Contra Costa)
Unsung Hero Award - Rose Chua, RN, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Antioch

Rose Chua, an RN, BSN at Kaiser Permanente Antioch has volunteered with Operation Access since 2009. No matter how busy she is, Rose is always willing to lend a helping hand to her patients, colleagues, and anyone that crosses her path. Rose helps with surgery session planning by recruiting nurses to help at each session. She loves to volunteer and hasn’t missed a session yet. Rose greets everyone with a warm smile, she gives the best hugs, and her positive attitude is contagious. It’s no surprise that over the years she has become good friends with those that volunteer alongside her.


Hilary Lerner, MD

(Contra Costa)
Legacy Award - Hilary Lerner, MD, Lerner Eye Center


Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Richmond
(Contra Costa) 

All Hands On Deck Award - Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Richmond