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From Alaska with love: Dentist recognized for volunteerism in Nepal

April 15, 2019

By David Burger

Anchorage, Alaska — Dr. Brian Hollander's work in Nepal stems from the 29 years he and his wife Judy spent living, practicing dentistry and raising their two children in the country.

Photo of Dr. Hollander
Dr. Hollander
On World Health Day, April 7, Association member-dentist Dr. Hollander was honored with the 14th annual Health Volunteers Overseas Golden Apple Award for his leadership and contributions to oral health care in Nepal. The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the nonprofit's mission of improving global health through the education, training and professional development of health workers in resource-scarce countries.

"The Golden Apple award was a complete surprise but greatly appreciated," said Dr. Hollander. "After spending the majority of my dental career in Nepal it warms my heart to be able to give something back to the country that welcomed me for almost 30 years," Dr. Hollander said. "We have had dedicated and amazing volunteers and I look forward to helping future volunteers in an assignment guaranteed to change their lives and the oral health of the Nepali people."

Dr. Hollander joined the ADA Foundation International Programs Committee and HVO Oral Health Steering Committee in 2012, and he has completed HVO volunteer assignments in Cambodia, Laos, and Nepal since joining the organization. In 2015, he collaborated with the Dhulikhel Dental School in Kathmandu to launch HVO's oral health project in Nepal.

The ADA Foundation sponsors the oral health programs of HVO.

"Dr. Hollander has been instrumental in the recruitment and coordination of numerous volunteers, including general dentists, oral surgeons, endodontists, oral pathologists and orthodontists," according to a HVO news release. "He works closely with the project's onsite coordinator Dr. Dashrath Kafle — the 2018 Golden Apple recipient — to facilitate the teaching and training delivered by HVO volunteers, facilitating improvement in the quality of dental service and dental graduates in Nepal."

Image of Golden Apple Award logo"I am very proud to have received the award because I was nominated by Dr. Kafle, the onsite coordinator at the Dhulikhel Dental School in Nepal," Dr. Hollander said. "The HVO volunteer dental project has been a success because Dr. Kafle and I have a mutual goal of producing world-class dentists in a developing country. This award is special to me because it shows that our HVO collaboration is appreciated by the school."

"The HVO Golden Apple Award recipients are an integral part of HVO's work to bring quality health care to all," said Nancy Kelly, HVO executive director, in a statement. "As we focus on universal health coverage this World Health Day, it is only fitting that we celebrate their individual and collective efforts, which lead to more people accessing quality health care delivered by local health professionals."

While in dental school, Dr. Hollander was awarded a health professions scholarship by the U.S. Army and spent two years in Germany. Upon returning from the Army he went on a four-month volunteer assignment providing dental care to locals in Cameroon, West Africa, and next spent three years traveling the world providing volunteer dental care and learning about different cultures.

Over his lifetime, he has provided international volunteer dentistry in Kenya, Nepal, Bangladesh, Mongolia, Thailand and Australia. Dr. Hollander founded and ran the American Embassy Dental Clinic in Kathmandu for 25 years, and then started a dental clinic at the CIWEC Travel Medicine Hospital, also in Kathmandu.

One of his proudest accomplishments was helping found the world's highest dental clinic at 11,400 feet in Namche Bazaar in 1990.

In 2009, Dr. Hollander moved to Bethel, Alaska, to serve as the dental director for the Yukon Kuskokwim Health Corporation, where he worked with his staff to serve remote villages throughout the state. Now living in Anchorage, he continues to serve remote villages as a dentist for Southcentral Foundation, a health care organization that seeks to improve the health and social conditions of Alaska Natives and American Indians.

The HVO Board of Directors established the Golden Apple Award in 2006 to recognize and thank the individuals and health educators who make exceptional contributions to HVO and its mission to improve global health.

For resources and information on international volunteering offered by the ADA Foundation, visit adafoundation.org/internationalvolunteer.