John Myers, CFP President
John Myers began his affiliation with RAM in 1985. He became a member of RAM’s first Board of Directors. His early volunteer duties involved flying Aircraft on survey missions, fundraising, general administrative guidance and almost anything else. John currently serves as President, Board of Directors and chairs the Finance Committee. He also serves on the Development Committee and Executive Committee. John’s “day job” is Senior Vice President, with a global financial services firm. He lives in Knoxville, TN with his wife, Lisa, and their two dogs. They have two daughters and three grandchildren.
Chris Sawyer, MD Medical Director
Dr. Sawyer has been Remote Area Medical’s Medical Director since 2010. He grew up in Maryville, TN and attended the University of Tennessee for both his undergraduate and medical degrees. Dr. Sawyer is trained and board certified in Family Practice and is certified in acute wilderness life support, trauma life support, and cardiac life support. During his time with RAM, Dr. Sawyer has traveled extensively both locally and around the world. He has responded to medical needs in the Amazon Jungle, Chile, Venezuela, Haiti, Guyana, and many other countries. He also leads the annual suture class at RAM headquarters. Outside of his medical career, Dr. Sawyer is the lead trumpet player for the TN Wind Symphony where he has played at Carnegie Hall, London, and Washington.
Janet H. Southerland, D.D.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.
Dr. Southerland is a Professor in the Department of Nutrition Metabolism and Vice President of Interprofessional Education, Institutional Effectiveness, and the Health Education Center at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). She completed her undergraduate studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After receiving her DDS at the UNC School of Dentistry in 1989, Dr. Southerland completed a two-year General Practice Residency Program where she spent a third year as a fellow and completed a MPH with a focus on Health Policy and Administration, and a PhD in oral biology, all at UNC. Dr. Southerland is a dedicated long-time RAM volunteer and has been a member of the Remote Area Medical Board of Directors since 2013.
Upon retiring as a Lieutenant Colonel from serving his country for twenty-five years in the U.S. Army and Kentucky Army National Guard, Dick served the public as a paid fire patrol pilot for the Kentucky Division of Forestry for nine years. Dick has flown extensively in Guyana, South America in support of RAM’s free air ambulance service to the indigenous people of the wilderness interior. He also serves as the pilot coordinator for the Guyana RAM pilot program. Dick has accompanied the RAM disaster teams on multiple expeditions including, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita efforts and Haiti on several occasions. Dick has been a member of the Remote Area Medical Board of Directors since 2013.
Mark earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Electronics and Communications Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Madison. In 1985, Mark founded PS Engineering, Inc., an aerospace manufacturer of audio control, where he is the current CEO. PS Engineering is a proud corporate sponsor of Remote Area Medical. Mark has been a dedicated RAM volunteer since 1999 and has been a member of the Remote Area Medical Board of Directors since 2013.
John Osborn DDS, FACD, FICD Dental Director, Secretary
Jim McFarland Secretary
Jim calls Corbin, KY his hometown. Jim is a graduate of Corbin High School in Corbin KY and Eastern Kentucky State College in Richmond, KY. Jim retired from a career at Chevron as the Accounting Manager at their Port Arthur Texas plant in 1997 and moved to Tennessee where he and his wife currently live. He serves on the following Boards: Lions Volunteer Blind Industries since 2008, District 12N Charities Board since 2007, Tennessee Lions Charities since 2009, Smoky Mountain Lions Charities since 2005 and Remote Area Medical since 2016.
Jim has volunteered for Remote Area Medical since 2001 and completed many missions to assist in providing medical services to the people in the area who were in need. He has received many Lions awards from the Lions Club International including the Ambassador of Good Will Award, the highest honor granted by the association to its members.
Paul Wittke, MD Director of Vision Services
Dr. Paul Wittke, who hails from Cape Girardeau, MO, has been a Remote Area Medical volunteer since 1986. He served on the RAM Foundation Board, and is now a current Board of Director member. Dr. Wittke received his undergraduate degree from University of Michigan in 1958 and his doctorate from Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1962. Dr. Wittke served in the USAF as a General Medical Officer, Ophthalmologist from 1963 to 1973 and the TN Air National Guard, Flight Surgeon from 1981 to 1992. He retired 1992 as Lt. Colonel. Dr. Wittke currently has a Private Ophthalmology Practice in Knoxville, TN. On top of being a dedicated RAM volunteer, he has been a West Knox Lions Club member since 1976.
Joseph E. Gambacorta, DDS
A native of Buffalo, New York Dr. Gambacorta currently serves as the associate dean for clinical affairs and a clinical associate professor at the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. He graduated from the University at Buffalo in 1989 with a degree in biology and earned his dental degree from the School of Dental Medicine in 1993. He completed a general practice residency at Buffalo’s Millard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital in 1994. Dr. Gambacorta then established a private practice and began working in community clinics throughout Western New York. In 2002, he began as clinical instructor at the School of Dental Medicine and in 2012 he accepted a full-time appointment as the assistant dean for clinical affairs and assistant clinical professor in the Department of Restorative Dentistry. In his role as co-faculty director of Buffalo Outreach and Community (BOCA), a School of Dental Medicine organization dedicated to providing care to underserved areas, he has led students on international and domestics missions outreach missions since 2006. Most recently travelling to Sierra Leone in a collaborative effort with Adama Martha Community Health Center and Jericho Road Ministries to establish the delivery of dental services to the Kono District. Dr. Gambacorta is the past president of the University at Buffalo Dental Alumni Association. Currently, and is currently the Secretary and Chairman of the Council on Dental Education and Licensure for the Eighth District Dental Society and the New York State Dental Association (NYSDA). He resides in Buffalo with his wife Charlotte and children Sarah, Patrick, Nicholas, and Claire.
Robert Denovo, DVM
Robert Denovo is a professor and the associate dean at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine since 2007. He holds an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University and a Master’s of Science in Clinical Pathology from the University of Georgia where he also did his veterinary internal medicine residency. He has served on the Remote Area Medical Board of Directors since 2016.
Wayne Hughes first became involved as a volunteer with Remote Area Medical in 2004 by working with a Community Host Group and hosting two clinics in his commercial maintenance hanger at the Oneida Scott County Airport. Wayne volunteered as a pilot with RAM Airborne on several domestic and international missions and provided maintenance and inspections on some RAM’s aircraft before joining the Board of Directors in 2013. Wayne serves as Chairman of the Aviation Committee and International Affairs Committee.
In his professional life Wayne is President and CEO of ATS-Tennessee, Inc. a Tennessee corporation founded in 2000. ATS is a heavy maintenance facility specializing in light jets and turboprop aircraft. Wayne is also a partner in Big South Fork Aero, Inc. where he serves as Chief Pilot and Director of Maintenance.
Doug Beeler is Owner of Saf-T-Inc. and assists RAM with its security, as well as RAM Rangers’ Ranch with over 25 years of experience in the Industrial Construction field. A Knoxville native, Doug is an alumni of Gibbs High School. Doug is a founding member of the Gibbs Youth Athletic Association where he served as a board member. Doug is an ATTSSA certified instructor from the U.S. Department of Transportation: Federal Highway Association and the National Highway Institute. Among many other accomplishments, Doug is an active member of his Knoxville community and has been on the board since 2012.
Admiral Brett P. Giroir
Brett P. Giroir, M.D. Dr. Brett Giroir is a physician-scientist and innovator, whose career has been dedicated to improving public health and medicine. Formerly, he served as the 16th Assistant Secretary for Health in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Admiral in the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. He also served as the US Representative to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization within the Department of State, and was on the front lines of the COVID-19 response as a member of the White House Task Force and the national lead for testing and diagnostics. Previously, Dr. Giroir has served in numerous leadership positions in the federal government and in academia. Most notably, he was acting FDA Commissioner in 2019 and was the first physician to serve as an office director at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). His academic career included service as Professor and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, Vice Chancellor for the Texas A&M University System, and before that, tenured professor and holder of two endowed chairs at UT Southwestern Medical Center and Children’s Health in Dallas. Dr. Giroir has received numerous awards including the American Society of Nephrology Presidential Medal; the American Society of Hematology Outstanding Public Service Award; the Society of Federal Healthcare Professionals, Tip of the Spear Federal Healthcare Leadership Award; Remote Area Medical, Distinguished Service Award; the Society of Critical Care Medicine, Founders’ Special Recognition Award; the Executive Office of the President Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Director’s Distinguished Service Award; and the HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Pinnacle Award. His uniformed service decorations include the US Public Health Service Distinguished Service Medal with Gold Star Attachment, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Surgeon General’s Medallion, the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Pinnacle Medal, a Presidential Unit Citation, and the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service, among other awards.
Patrick Nigel de Groot has been in the poultry business since 1975 when he joined the family business working as a teenager at Bounty Farm Limited after he completed secondary school at St. Stanislaus College in Guyana. He pursued higher education at Tuskegee University in the USA from 1978 to 1982, achieving a Bachelor of Science in Animal & Poultry Science with Highest Honors. He returned to Guyana and joined the management team at Bounty Farm Limited taking full control of the operation in 1987 when production was only eighteen hundred (1,800) birds per month. Today the operation produces in excess of half a million birds per month. Under his stewardship as Managing Director, the business thrived and developed into a fully integrated poultry operation with state of the art equipment in hatchery, feed production, processing and storage facilities and a supermarket chain, making his company the leader in poultry production in Guyana. Mr. de Groot joined the RAM Board of Directors in 2019.
Karen Wilson began her career as a freelance writer. She began working with RAM as a volunteer in 1992 and served the organization as Executive Director, Executive Advisor and Special Advisor to the President until her retirement in 2019.