Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Humanitarian Award

About the Nikhil J. Bhatt, MD International Humanitarian Award

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

2021 International Humanitarian Award Recipient

This year’s awardee is Niels van Heerbeek, MD, PhD, who has contributed significantly to otolaryngology in Tanzania. Dr. van Heerbeek is the owner of and surgeon at Enface Clinique and De Neuscorrectiespecialist, as well as an otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon at Radboud University Medical Centre in Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He is also the founder and chair of AfriKNO Foundation, which supports otolaryngology training and care in Tanzania.

Dr. van Heerbeek approaches his humanitarian work with a long-term vision. For nearly 10 years, he has served in the Otolaryngology Department at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Center (KCMC) in Tanzania, where he teaches medical students and otolaryngology residents.

Dr. van Heerbeek helped reestablish the otolaryngology residency training program there since only a few otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeons practiced in Tanzania at that time. This residency program has led to a number of new otolaryngologists working within the country.

In addition to providing hands-on training at the medical center and supporting future otolaryngologists in Tanzania, he works through the AfriKNO Foundation to provide donations of equipment and funds for the facilities at KCMC.

Dr. van Heerbeek also developed a course for non-otolaryngologists who work in smaller regional hospitals in Tanzania. The course covers management of common ENT problems as well as what to do for more complex problems.

2021 International Humanitarian Award Honorable Mention: Thana Nassir, MD, PhD

Previous Recipients:

  • 2020 – Marlinda Adham, MD, PhD | Indonesia
  • 2019 – José Manuel Colmenarez Mendoza, MD | Venezuela
  • 2018 – Professor Mohan Kameswaran | India
  • 2017 – Johanna Sembergman, MD | Venezuela
  • 2016 – Nega Kiros Hagos, MD | Ethiopia
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