COVID-19 UPDATE:    See how is managing the COVID-19 crisis. Join the fight here or learn more


Two Physicians Honored for Helping the Underserved Through Missions Work


8/18/2016 12:00:00 AM

Two Physicians Honored for Helping the Underserved Through Missions Work

Work in War-Torn Syria and with U.S.-based Refugees Highlighted

Alpharetta, Ga., August 18, 2016—The 2016 Physicians of the Year have both responded in crisis to treat, teach and lead through medical missions work, helping the war-ravaged in Syria, earthquake survivors in Haiti and the uninsured here in the United States. announced today that Dr. Wael Hakmeh, a locum tenens Emergency Medicine physician from West Bloomfield, Mich., and Dr. Roy Blank, a retired Internal Medicine physician from Charlotte, N.C., are the 2016 Physicians of the Year for International and Domestic service, respectively.

Dr. Hakmeh has risked his life by traveling to Syria and Turkey seven times over the past two years to work with the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), training healthcare workers on trauma care. Dr. Hakmeh was working in the Emergency Room at the M10 hospital in Aleppo, Syria, in 2014 when it was bombed, one of eight times it was struck by the Syrian government over a two-year period. He is now working with SAMS to organize and establish care for Syrian refugees in Europe. You can read more about Dr. Hakmeh here.

“Seeing the resolve of the Syrian people in person has really humbled me,” Dr. Hakmeh said. “There is likely no calamity I could face that they have not already experienced, and their strength is genuine and heartening.”

Dr. Roy Blank didn’t do a lot of medical missions work during his 40-year career in private practice, but now is extremely active, serving as medical director for three non-profit organizations in the Charlotte area as well as teaching at Wingate University’s physician assistant program. He involves students in local activities as well as taking them on mission trips organized by Bless Back Worldwide (BBW), an organization he helped to found after traveling to Haiti directly after the 2010 earthquake. For the organization’s two clinics in Haiti and Nicaragua, he has established care protocols based on World Health Organization standards and implemented electronic health records to improve care. He volunteers regularly in the Charlotte area to treat refugees and the uninsured through Project 658 and works with diabetic patients at the Union County Free Diabetes Clinic. You can read more about Dr. Blank here.

“Practicing medicine has been the ultimate gift to me,” Dr. Blank said. “I love the work I do now that I’m retired. I don’t have to worry about filing insurance or charging patients. I’m only focused on helping patients and teaching.”

“Dr. Hakmeh and Dr. Blank possess all the traits we considered when we created the Physician of the Year Award,” said Chris Franklin, president, “Dr. Hakmeh places himself in danger to improve lives in war-ravaged Syria, and Dr. Blank is making sure patients receive high-quality care in Charlotte, Haiti and Nicaragua through his hands-on work and leadership. Their service, and that of physicians like them, epitomizes the spirit of giving back so that patients here and abroad have access to quality healthcare services.”

More than 125 physicians were nominated for the annual awards program that honors physicians who donate their time to help underserved people in the United States and abroad gain access to critically-needed healthcare services. As part of the award, will donate to the Syrian American Medical Society on behalf of Dr. Hakmeh and to Bless Back Worldwide on behalf of Dr. Blank. is committed to supporting medical missions work and increasing healthcare access in underserved areas, sponsoring and recruiting physicians for several medical brigades annually, and by operating the website, which helps connect trained medical volunteers with organizations sponsoring medical missions all over the world. Organizations who sponsor missions and volunteers seeking volunteer opportunities can register for free at

About is a full-service healthcare staffing agency, specializing in the temporary placement of physicians, CRNAs, physician assistants and nurse practitioners at healthcare facilities across the U.S. As the industry’s most-visited job board, helps healthcare organizations connect with the professionals they need to ensure patients have access to quality care. Founded in 1995, is part of the Jackson Healthcare family of companies. Learn more here.


Media Contact:
Kelly Randall, PR Manager
678.992.1263 Best of Staffing Client Logo Best of Staffing Talent Logo Fortune Best Workplace Logo NALTO Logo Beyond Profit Logo