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 whome 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.
2019 International Humanitarian Award Recipient: José Manuel Colmenarez Mendoza, MD (Venezuela)
This year's awardee is José Manuel Colmenarez Mendoza, MD. Dr. Mendoza was born in El Tocuyo, a western Venezuela town founded by the Spanish in 1545. It is one of the oldest cities in the country. His parents, Raul and Bolivia, were born there, as were all of their ancestors and Dr. Mendoza's five siblings. He spent his childhood in El Tocuyo, but because the town did not have university studies, he moved to the state capital, Barquisimeto. There, he carried out his dream of studying medicine in the Lisandro Alvarado University.
During his internal doctor training, Dr. Mendoza liked to go to the otolaryngology department, where his love for the otolaryngology specialty was born. He held an ENT residency for four years in two different hospitals. When he finished, he wanted to learn more, so he decided to go to Caracas, where he completed an otology fellowship at the Venezuelan Foundation of Otology.
Throughout his training and career, Dr. Mendoza always felt compelled to help the people of his hometown, El Tocuyo. In 1995, he began providing free consultations to underprivileged patients. For the past 23 years, the program he started with free consultations for two patients has become the medical mission of El Tocuyo, which is the largest in the country and helps thousands.
Dr. Mendoza is currently the Medical Director of the Ear, Nose, and Throat Clinic in Barquisimeto, the Director of the Cochlear Implant Program, and the President of the Stapedium Foundation of Venezuela. Together with his family and his team, he aims to continue helping the people of Venezuela who have no access to medical attention.
2018 – Professor Mohan Kameswaran | India
2017 – Johanna Sembergman, MD | Venezuela
2016 – Nega Kiros Hagos, MD | Ethiopia