Physician and Advanced Practitioner Honored for International Mission Work and Advocacy


10/31/2017 12:00:00 AM

Alpharetta, Ga., October 20, 2017The 2017 Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the Year have both devoted their professional lives to caring for those through medical mission work, including helping women in Nicaragua who have been victims of sex trafficking and promoting clean water projects for rural Guatemala. announced today that Dr. Gloria Halverson, an obstetrician/gynecologist from Milwaukee, Wisc., and nurse practitioner Deborah Bell from Longview, Texas, are the 2017 Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the Year, respectively.

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Halverson has volunteered with the Global Health Outreach arm of Christian Medical and Dental Associations (CMDA). She now leads a team twice a year in Managua, Nicaragua to provide medical and gynecological care to women who have been victims of sex trafficking and have minimal access to health care and education. She joined House of Hope in Nicaragua in 2011, which provides support for those who cannot afford decent medical care and are often neglected by local care providers. She continued her mission work by founding CMDA’s Human Trafficking Commission in 2013, developing an online curriculum on human trafficking for health professionals and coauthoring a chapter on human trafficking for medical students.

“Through her long-term commitment to the outreach ministry of House of Hope, Dr. Halverson has earned the respect and friendship of the people who live and work there,” says colleague Amy Givler of CMDA. “She also sees the value in teaching the other members of the team who travel with her to Nicaragua. She reviews with them the medical knowledge they will need to care for the women at House of Hope, and she also seeks to model the caring attitude that will make an emotional impact on these hurting women. She has mentored many of the women physicians who have accompanied her.”

Deborah Bell began her first mission trip to Guatemala almost 18 years ago and, in 2003, founded Refuge International. Her organization brings medical help to Guatemala to decrease perinatal mortality rates and cervical cancer deaths. Through the years, she has performed more than 250 life-changing surgeries, cared for approximately 8,000 people in the clinic, treated about four million children for parasites, funded two full-time school teachers and worked on clean water projects.

“Ms. Bell is the definition of a servant leader,” says Shannon Hilton, member of Refuge International. “She has put her heart and soul into creating an organization which has served thousands of Guatemalan citizens over the years.”

“Dr. Gloria Halverson and Deborah Bell both epitomize what it means to be a medical missions leader,” said Chris Franklin, president, “Dr. Halverson cares for some of the world’s most disenfranchised women and has devoted her life to treatment, advocacy and education for victims of human trafficking. Deborah’s focus on sick women and children in Guatemala goes beyond that of a typical mission worker; she created an organization dedicated to prevention alongside treatment. We are humbled to provide these selfless and inspiring clinicians the Physician and Advanced Practitioner of the Year Awards.”

Every day, healthcare volunteers in the United States and around the world help the underserved receive critically-needed care through medical missions work. In 2012, began recognizing physicians for their charitable work by presenting the Physician of the Year Award. Two honorees are selected each year, with this marking the first Advanced Practitioner of the Year Award to be given. As part of the award, will donate to House of Hope on behalf of Dr. Halverson and to Refuge International on behalf of Deborah Bell. is committed to supporting medical missions work and increasing healthcare access in underserved areas, sponsoring and recruiting physicians and advanced practitioners 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

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Media Contact:
Meaghan Johnston
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