Board of Directors
William A. Johnson, M.D.
William A Johnson founded the Albanian Health fund and served as board chair until his death in 2012. He was 89 years old. Dr. Johnson was engaged in the practice of general surgery for more than 40 years in California. He was a Diplomate of the American Board of Surgery and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He was a graduate of the Northwestern University Medical School and completed his internship and surgical residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago, Illinois.
He served his country both as a member of the United States Navy in WWII and Army as M.A.S.H. surgeon in Korea. He also served as the National President of the Christian Medical Society. In addition to his surgical practice, he participated in multiple short-term medical missions -- including missions to Africa, Bolivia, Ecuador, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and the Comoro Islands off the Coast of Africa.
Ryan M. Kwok, M.D.
Dr. Kwok is a Major in the U.S. Army and practicing as a gastroenterologist and transplant hepatologist at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. There he serves as the associate program director for the GI fellowship and has an appointment as an assistant professor of medicine at the Uniformed Services University. He has served in missions in the United States, East Asia, Ecuador, and Albania.
John W. Gillan, D.D.S, M.S.
Dr. Gillan holds a specialty certificate and masters degree in Endodontics. He is in private practice in Mesa, Arizona and is a past president of the Arizona Endodontic Association. John has served with our team in Albania since 1994. He and his wife, Cindy, have served several times with a medical/dental team in Cameroon, Africa since 2005. He has also served on teams in Romania and Kosova.
Phillip G. Svalya, Esq.
Mr. Svalya is a trial attorney in active practice in the Santa Clara Valley of California. He is a graduate of the United States Naval Academy, has served as a Navy SEAL and is a retired Captain from the Navy reserves. He is also a graduate of Santa Clara University Law School. With his wife and two children, he has made a trip to Albania accompanying medical doctors of the Albanian Health Fund.
David L. Krueger
Mr. Krueger is President of KDL Corporation, a management consulting firm. He has also served as President and Chief Operating Officer of two other companies, a steel recycling company and an information technology/market research services company. In addition, he previously held executive positions with the IBM Corporation during his 33 year tenure at that company. He has made two trips to Albania with medical doctors of the Albanian Health Fund. He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and has an MBA degree in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Ms. Piña started her employment as Administrative Services Manager with the Mid-Peninsula Water District in June 2012, after working for more than 30 years primarily as a financial controller for private companies. She is responsible for the MPWD’s financial, accounting, customer service, and human resources functions. Prior to coming to Albanian Health Fund ministry, she volunteered her accounting skills to the ministries "Sports Challenge" and "Kingdom First Ministries" both on Stanford University's campus. Candy received her BS in Accounting from San Jose State University.
Catherine Cowles, BSN RN OCN
Ms. Cowles is a graduate of the Baptist College of Health Sciences in Memphis Tennessee. Her initial assignment as a Nurse was in the Cardio Pulmonary Transplant Unit (CPTU) at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. She worked in this field for the first 10 years of her nursing career. Catherine currently working as a Physician Nurse at the West Cancer Center in Germantown, Tennessee alongside her father, Dr. Al Weir. She has also served on the staff of a local church in children's ministries. Catherine and her husband Lance have four children, Elaina, Lyla, Jackson, and Nora. They reside in Germantown, Tennessee. Catherine has a passion for caring for others and enjoys spending time with her family.
Mark H. Johnston, M.D.
Dr. Johnston currently works in a private gastroenterology practice in Lancaster, PA. He is a retired Navy Captain and former head of Gastroenterology at the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) in Bethesda, MD. He is a graduate of Hahnemann Medical University in Philadelphia. He has participated in multiple short term medical mission trips to Albania, Kenya and China and currently serves as an Elder in his church. He holds two US patents regarding his earlier GI research, and has received numerous military, academic, research and humanitarian awards which include the state of Maryland’s Innovator of the Year Award for 2005, two Meritorious Service Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, Navy Achievement Medal, Winner of the NNMC Navy Research Competition, American College of Physicians, Rosenthal Foundation Award #2, James J.Leonard Award for Excellence in Teaching in Internal Medicine, USU Department of Medicine John F.Maher, MD Award for Research Excellence, American College of Physicians Navy Chapter Volunteer of the Year Award for medical work in Albania and China From 1994 through 1998, American College of Physician’s (ACP) Preceptor of the Year Award and most recently was awarded the title “Professor Honoris Causa from the University Hospital Mother Terasa. He is married with 3 adult children who have all chosen careers in medicine and surgery.
Cyndy Keener, BSN RN
Ms. Keener studied nursing at Villanova University and has worked in multiple nursing specialties, ranging from home hospice care to hospital supervision. Currently, she is employed in the Emergency Department at Duke University Health in Durham, NC. She has taught as an adjunct clinical instructor, and is passionate about teaching nursing students both in America and Albania. Cyndy, along with her husband Dustin, have served on the Albanian Health Fund team since 2015.
Mary Kwok, M.D.
Dr. Kwok completed her undergraduate studies in Biochemistry and Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington, and attended medical school at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, School of Medicine, graduating in 2006. She completed her internal medicine residency training at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She trained in hematology-oncology at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and was a research fellow with the Myeloma Section of the Lymphoid Malignancies Branch of the National Cancer Institute. She is now a staff hematology-oncology physician, practicing in Bethesda, MD, where she also has the privilege of teaching hematology-oncology fellows, internal medicine residents and medical students. Mary, along with her husband Ryan, have served on the Albanian Health Fund team since 2016.
Zefjan Nikolla is the General Secretary of the International Fellowship of Evangelical Student in Albania. He also serves as Pastor of the Emanuel Evangelical Church in Tirana, Albania. Mr. Nikolla has studied at the Tirana University in the fields of English language and literature as well as the Albanian language. He is married to Edita and lives in Tirana with his wife and two daughters, Greis and Emili.
Rudolph Oehm, M.D.
Dr. Oehm graduated from New Jersey Institute of Technology with a BS in Chemical Engineering, then served in the USAF as an officer with duties of teaching hazards of chemical, biological, and nuclear warfare. He then transferred to the Medical Service Corps, working out of a hospital, supervising prevention of biomedical and industrial health hazards. Before medical school he was in research with the Birdseye Frozen Food Division of General Foods. He graduated from The State University of New York at Buffalo School of Medicine and after finishing his medical training at Boston City Hospital, obtained board certification in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases. He is a Fellow of The American College of Cardiology. He practiced medicine for 7 years in the Boston area before moving West and becoming a staff physician at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland. He was a prior president of staff at Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and president of the American Heart Association of Contra Costa County. He did clinical medical mission trips to Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Mexico, and teaching trips to Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, Kosovo, and Albania (altogether 39 trips).
Edvin Selmani, M.D.
Dr. Selmani graduated from the University of Tirana Albania Medical School on 1998 and finished his residency program in Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery on 2003. He holds a certificate of Fellowship in Foot and Ankle Surgery in Campbell Clinic Memphis Tennessee on 2005. He has his Masters Degree in Orthopaedics (Tirana University) and PHD degree. He has worked since 2005 as an orthopaedic and trauma surgeon in the University Hospital Center Mother Theresa in Tirana Albania and is also involved with student teaching. He served as President of Albanian Christian Medical and Dental Association (MDKSH) from 2005-2007. He is married and has two children.
Paul C. Smith, M.D., FRCS
Dr. Smith was engaged in the practice of general surgery for over 37 years, the last 26 years serving in the Oakland/Berkeley area of Northern California. He was the Director of the UCSF East Bay Surgical Residency Program at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland, California. His work was recognized by his students and his colleagues when he was awarded the "Teacher of the Year" award in 2001. Dr. Smith received his medical training, both undergraduate and graduate, at Guy's Hospital, London University, U.K. between 1959 and 1974, receiving his FRCS certification in 1970. Additionally, he received a certification in Higher Surgical Training from the Royal College of Surgeons, London, 1974 followed by an appointment as a Fellow in Surgery at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Smith has travelled to Albania over 41 times since 1992 and has completed over a man-year "in- country", teaching and mentoring his Albanian colleagues. Additionally, he has been invited to do many complex and difficult surgical cases by his hosts. In recognition of his years of work, the President of Albania awarded Dr. Smith a certificate of "Special Civil Merit" in May of 2011. In addition to his work in Albania, Dr. Smith has travelled to Nicaragua, Guatemala, Vietnam, and India on Medical Missions.
Al Weir, M.D.
Dr. Weir is a specialist in Hematology/Oncology and works in a private practice/teaching setting in Memphis, TN as a professor of medicine UT Health Science Center and program director for their hematology and oncology fellowship. He served as national president of CMDA from 2001-2003. His mission experience includes two years in Nigeria with the Southern Baptist Foreign Mission Board in 1983-1985 and multiple trips to Albania with AHF. Dr. Weir authored and published with Zondervan a book entitled When Your Doctor Has Bad News in 2003 and a devotional book for healthcare providers entitled Whispers in 2015.