2019 Global Achievement Award Recipients

Franklin C. Baer, BSPH ’77
Dr. Franklin Baer is one of the world’s leading and most experienced technical advisors for strengthening primary health care services in resource-constrained settings in Africa. After completing his degree at Johns Hopkins in 1976, he helped develop one of the first faith-based managed health zones in DR Congo (then Zaire). In the 1980s, he served as project manager for the USAID-funded SANRU (Santé Rurale) project to develop 100 decentralized health zones, many with faith-based partners. Since 1991, he has worked as an independent consultant and technical advisor to many different governmental and non-governmental organizations. He is widely admired for his knowledge and consensus-building skills in designing and improving primary health care systems. He has worked in 28 countries, primarily within sub-Saharan Africa. In 2000 he led the design of the SANRU III project to begin the rebuilding process for DRC’s health system. Similarly, he made more than twenty trips to Liberia (2006-2013) as a key advisor to the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare to develop its national health plan to rebuild and decentralize its war-torn health system. In 2011, he helped SANRU evolve into a national NGO, and serves as its Vice-President. SANRU is currently Principal Recipient for Global Fund, GAVI and other donor funding to develop, rebuild and sustain more than 400 health zones across DRC. Dr. Baer has also been a long-term leader of the organization Christian Connections for International Health, and in 2017 received its International Health Champion award.

George Bass, A&S ’55        
Dr. Bass is the founder and developer of the art and science of underwater archaeology and has received recognition and acclaim from around the world.  He graduated with 250 men in the Class of 1955.  He was the only one who skipped a B.A. and received a Master’s of Arts in Near Eastern Archaeology.  Dr. Bass was awarded a Ph.D., Classical Archaeology, from the University of Pennsylvania.  He has received the most prestigious honors and awards from the universities, organizations, and countries around the world. In 2018, TIME published “Great Scientists – The Geniuses and Visionaries Who Transformed Our World.” Bass is featured along with others such as Einstein, Galileo, Newton and Pasteur.

Gretchen Birbeck Med PGF ’98
Gretchen L. Birbeck, M.D., M.P.H., D.T.M.&H., has dedicated much of her career to improving care for neurological disorders in sub-Saharan Africa. Her work in Zambia initially focused on understanding the burden of epilepsy and barriers to care for patients with epilepsy, and this early work led to studies addressing the pathophysiology and determinants of outcomes of pediatric cerebral malaria in both Malawi and Zambia. She has also contributed to our understanding of neurological complications of HIV and the overall burden of neurological diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.  Birbeck has worked to improve the neurologic training of healthcare workers and to develop research capacity in both Zambia and Malawi. Moreover, she has been a true pioneer in the field of global neurology as the first to demonstrate how one could have a viable academic neurology career while working in a low-resourced setting. In fact, she has maintained continuous NIH funding for her work in sub-Saharan Africa for the past 16 years. For her work, she has been named Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurologic Association, and the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene; and has received numerous awards. She is a U.S. Paul Rogers Society Ambassador for Global Health Research and was recognized by the International League Against Epilepsy as an Ambassador for Epilepsy.  Her trailblazing work serves as the foundation for the field of global neurology, and she has mentored the majority of neurologists in academic global neurology today. Birbeck’s dedication to improving neurological care in sub-Saharan Africa and building the careers of junior African and U.S. neurologists and scientists is unparalleled.

James Cobey, Med ’69, BSPH ’71
James C. Cobey, M.D., M.P.H., is an orthopaedic surgeon who shared in the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for the International Campaign to Ban Land Mines as a member of Physicians for Human Rights. He has spent time in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and more to research, teach and practice. In 1979 he was assigned by the American Red Cross as a health delegate to work on the Thai-Cambodian border. In this capacity, he was coordinator of one of the largest refugee camps, managing medical care as well as overall relief care. Since that time, he has worked as a consultant to the United States Agency for International Development on health care programs at the Thai-Cambodian border.  He served in the U.S. Army as chief of the Preventive Medicine Service at Fort Lewis, Washington, attaining the rank of major and receiving the Meritorious Service Medal. He has been the team doctor for Gallaudet University for twenty years and is an instructor on International Humanitarian Law and Disaster Relief for the Red Cross. He holds the rank of professor of orthopaedics at Georgetown University and senior associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.  In 1992, Cobey won the Charles R. Drew Award from the American Red Cross. In 1998, he was awarded the American Red Cross’s International Humanitarian Service Award. He is author of numerous articles on orthopaedics and international relief and his career speaks for itself: humanitarian efforts for impoverished and underserved areas internationally, and domestically.

Blair Glencorse, SAIS B’03, 04
Blair is the founder and executive director of the Accountability Lab, an organization that empowers citizens to fight corruption and build the accountability of governments. Today the organization operates out of seven countries and leads countless initiatives to inspire civic participation and engagement. Its programs include a pioneering citizen feedback program that ensured citizen voice in the $4.4 billion Nepal earthquake relief; the first national network of women filmmakers in Liberia; and the first global TV show to find, celebrate and support honest government officials called “Integrity Idol.” Blair appeared on the TEDx stage in  2015 to share the concept of “naming and faming” with Integrity Idol and has since gone on to found TEDx events in Liberia and Mali.  Blair has dedicated his career to catalyzing ideas for change across public institutions, social enterprises and non-profit organizations. In the past, he developed a youth network and strategies for post-conflict countries at the World Bank; advised Presidents and Prime Ministers on leadership issues through the Club de Madrid; and worked on several Presidential campaigns in Africa and Asia. Blair recently won the prestigious Anti-Corruption Excellence award from the U.N. and contributes frequently to the New York Times and Washington Post.

Stacie Stender, Nurs ’99, ’01
Ms. Stacie C. Stender is a public health practitioner, clinician, policy analyst and advocate with extensive experience in measuring and evaluating health outcomes, as well as managing people and projects.  She is a Family Nurse Practitioner and specialist in infectious disease with 18 years of experience working across sub-Saharan Africa.  She is currently Sr. Technical Advisor for Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.  Her professional priority is the revitalization of primary care, ensuring equitable access to healthcare services. She is dedicated to strengthening health systems and improving the status of the nursing profession. Ms. Stender has provided programmatic and technical support to universities, governments, community-based organizations, and NGOs in the design, implementation and evaluation of essential services, focusing on integration of HIV and TB prevention, treatment, care and support into primary health care.  Stacie has experience working "on-the-ground" in 18 countries in sub-Saharan Africa as well as in India and Haiti.