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Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Awards

The AAO-HNS Foundation supports otolaryngologists around the world who demonstrate a unique commitment to the specialty as part of our continued effort to foster a global otolaryngology community. 

The AAO-HNSF Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Public Service and Humanitarian Awards recognize the achievements of non-U.S. otolaryngologist—head and neck surgeons. The Awards are in fulfillment of the AAO-HNSF’s aim to foster a global otolaryngology community, and made possible through the generosity of Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD, a longtime advocate of AAO-HNSF international affairs.

International Humanitarian Award

The International Humanitarian Award honors a non-U.S. otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon who has selflessly treated persons for whom access to care would have been financially or physically prohibitive.

This year, the International Humanitarian Award recognized the efforts of Johanna Sembergman, MD, of Venezuela.

Dr. Sembergman is deeply committed to improving the lives of the people of Venezuela. Working with three humanitarian organizations — Fundación Proyecto Maniapure, Fe y Alegría, and Aviación para la Salud — she administers hearing exams in some of the most remote and rural parts of Venezuela. With little access to medical care in these areas, she often provides health services beyond ear, nose, and throat care, including treating snake bites and stingray injuries and assisting with labor and delivery. Through her humanitarian work, she has become deeply passionate about the people of Venezuela and the country itself.

Dr. Sembergman has gained the respect of physicians, peers, and patients for her compassionate care and devotion to her profession. She is dedicated to her community and demonstrates the true spirit of volunteerism.

International Public Service Award

The International Public Service Award honors a non-U.S. otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon whose achievements have advanced the specialty.

This year, the International Public Service Award recognized the efforts of Sheng-Po Hao, MD, of Taiwan.

Dr. Hao has a strong commitment to the treatment and prevention of oral cancer and nasopharyngeal cancer, an almost uniquely Asian disease with Taiwan having the highest incidence in the world. He founded the Taiwan Oral Cancer Prevention and Treatment Association, which carries out oral cavity cancer prevention and screening programs, and is the founding president of both the Taiwan Head and Neck Society and the Asian Society of Head and Neck Society. He remains the secretary-general of the latter.

He is an internationally recognized authority and has published hundreds of articles and book chapters on the surgical aspect as well as ongoing research in oral cancer.

He has not only imparted his knowledge and expertise through teaching medical students and residents in Taiwan, but has also trained international fellows from China, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Malaysia, Spain, and the Philippines.