Global Humanitarian Award

Dr. Mathias Fobi is the Vincent Kewala Nyambi Foundation’s recipient of the 2015 Global Humanitarian award.

mathias-fobi-profileDr. Mathias A.L. Fobi, is an internationally recognized bariatric (obesity) surgeon, also known as “The Surgeon to the Stars”, who changed the lives of Hollywood heavyweights such as Roseanne Barr, Etta James, Jennifer Holiday and American Idol’s Randy Jackson.

Mathias Fobi, born in Cameroon, West Africa, is a naturalized US citizen who received his Pharmacy degree from the University of Michigan and his medical degree from University of Cincinnati. Dr. Fobi completed a General Surgical Residency at the King Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles where he later served as the Chief of the General Surgery Division. He is a Board Certified General Surgeon.

In 1981, he opened the Center for Surgical Treatment of Obesity in Los Angeles with a multiple disciplinary approach where more than 12,000 patients were treated. Dr. Fobi is a senior staff surgeon (retired) at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. He served as the Medical Director of the Bariatric Surgery Program at St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach California where he developed an ASMBS accredited Center of Excellence. He also served as the Medical Director of Tri-City Regional Medical Center Bariatric Program in Hawaiian Gardens, CA also an ASMBS accredited Center of Excellence

Dr. Fobi was one of the founding members of the American Society for Bariatric Surgery (ASBS) in 1983. He has served as the President of the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation (ASMBS Foundation) the President of the California Chapter of the ASMBS (CCASMBS) the President of the International Federation for Surgery of Obesity (IFSO) and was the Chairman of the IFSO Board of Trustee 2013-2015. Dr. Fobi is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, the International College of Surgeons and the American College of Nutrition. He is a member of many medical associations, including Los Angeles County Medical Association, Charles Drew Los Angeles Medical Society, the California Medical association, the American College of Nutrition, Los Angeles Surgical Society, Southwestern Surgical Association, National Medical Association, American College of Surgeons, the US Section of the International College of Surgeons and the American Medical Association. He is an honorary member of many International Bariatric Surgery Societies.

Dr. Fobi lectures worldwide, is on several editorial boards, has numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals and has written chapters in books on obesity and Bariatric surgery. Dr. Fobi’s modification of the gastric bypass surgery, the banded gastric bypass, called “The Fobi Pouch”, is one of his major contributions to the field of Bariatric Surgery

He is the founding President of Bariatec Corporation, a medical device company that produces the GaBP Autolock SystemTM that is used in bariatric operations to enhance the restriction mechanism of the operations.

Dr. Fobi’s community involvement dates back to 1967 with his involvement in the Head Start program in Ann Arbor Michigan working with kids. He was President of the sickle cell awareness group in Cincinnati from 1972-74. In the last forty one years in Los Angeles Dr. Fobi has been a very active member in the greater los Angeles community through programs with the Los Angeles Medical association, The Charles Drew medical Society, the International Visitors Council of Los Angeles, the 100 Black Men, the NAACP, the African community, the Cameroon Community, the Nkwen Community, the Bafut Community and various Churches. Dr. Fobi and his wife, through a foundation have been involved in work in Cameroon and particularly his village Nkwen. They sponsored more than 150 students in Cameroon and in America. Dr. Fobi was a big contributor to the birth of multiparty politics in Cameroon. Dr. Fobi’s work has been recognized with coverage in the local, national and international media. He was one of the first African-American profiled on “African Voices” on CNN in 2011. He was featured in Ebony magazine as “Surgeon to the Stars”. Dr. Fobi has received numerous awards including lifetime achievement awards from the Beacon of Hope Foundation, the World Bank, American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery and the International Federation for Surgery of Obesity and Metabolic disorders.

Dr. Fobi currently resides in The City of Rolling Hills on the Palos Verdes Peninsular with his wife, Helen Jean Newton Fobi. They have four daughters—a medical doctor, two lawyers and a business executive. They have two grandchildren.

Dr Robert Gallo

gallo1 About DR. ROBERT C. GALLO the V.K.Nyambi Foundation Global Humanitarian Award Recipient 2014

DR. ROBERT C. GALLO is the Director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. The Homer & Martha Gudelsky Distinguished Professor in Medicine Co-founder & Scientific Director, Global Virus Network

The Institute of Human Virology (IHV) was co-founded and is directed by Robert C. Gallo, MD, the eminent scientist who became world famous in 1984 when he co-discovered HIV as the cause of AIDS. Little was known then of the mysterious disease that was fast becoming the deadliest in medical history. Since, Dr. Gallo has spent much of his career trying to put an end to this raging epidemic and other viral, chronic illnesses.

Though best known for his co-discovery of HIV, Gallo and his team pioneered the development of the HIV blood test, which enabled health care workers for the first time to screen for the AIDS virus – leading to a more rapid diagnosis while simultaneously protecting patients receiving blood transfusions. His research also helped physicians develop HIV THERAPIES to prolong the lives of those infected with the virus. In 1996, his discovery that a natural compound known as chemokines can block HIV and halt the progression of AIDS was hailed by Science magazine as one of that year’s most important scientific breakthroughs.

Prior to the AIDS epidemic, Gallo was the first to identify a human retrovirus and the only known human leukemia virus – HTLV – one of few known viruses shown to cause a human cancer. In 1976, he and his colleagues discovered Interleukin-2, a growth regulating substance now used as therapy in some cancers and sometimes AIDS. And in 1986, he and his group discovered the first new human HERPES VIRUS in more than 25 years (HHV-6), which was later shown to cause an infantile disease known as Roseola and currently is hypothesized as a strong suspect in the origin of multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Gallo reflects his achievements on the 25th anniversary of his co-discovery of the AIDS VIRUS.

Today, Dr. Gallo’s work continues at the IHV, a first-of-its-kind virology center that combines the disciplines of research, patient care and prevention programs in a concerted effort to speed the pace of medical breakthroughs. IHV was co-founded in 1996 by Dr. Gallo who in addition to his position as director of the IHV is co-director of IHV’s Division of Basic Science and Vaccine Development, William Blattner, MD, associate director of the IHV and director of IHV’s Division of Epidemiology and Prevention and Robert Redfield, MD, associate director of the IHV and director of IHV’s Division of CLINICAL CARE and Research. The Institute is a part of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and affiliated with the University of Maryland Medical Center. IHV treats more than 500,000 HIV positive individuals in 7 African and 2 Caribbean nations in addition to more than 5,000 HIV positive Baltimoreans. In particular, IHV is internationally renowned for its basic science research, which includes the launch of clinical trials in 2014 on a promising preventive HIV vaccine candidate funded largely by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Additionally, in 2011 Dr. Gallo co-founded the Global VIRUS Network (GVN) to position the world to rapidly respond to new or re-emerging viruses that threaten mankind, to bring together and achieve collaboration amongst the world’s leading virologists, and to support TRAINING of the next generation of medical virologists.

Prior to becoming director of the Institute in 1996, Dr. Gallo spent 30 years at the National Institutes of Health’s National CANCER Institute, where he was head of its Laboratory of Tumor Cell Biology. A Connecticut native, his interest in science and medicine was first stirred by the loss of his 6-year-old sister to leukemia when he was just 12 years old. The physicians who cared for her made a lasting impression and Gallo would later make scientific research – and the opportunity to help put an end to deadly diseases – his life’s work.

Lifetime achievements in Dr. Gallo’s legendary career include discoveries that have led to both diagnostic and therapeutic advances in cancer, AIDS and other viral disorders while his vision remains unprecedented in the field of virology.

Dr. Gallo’s research has brought him international recognition as well as election into the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine. He has been awarded honors for his contribution to science from countries around the world and holds 32 honorary doctorates. Dr. Gallo was the most referenced scientist in the world in the 1980s and 1990s, during which he had the unique distinction of twice winning America’s most prestigious scientific award – the Albert Lasker Award in Medicine – in 1982 and again in 1986. Dr. Gallo is the author of more than 1,200 scientific publications and the BOOK “Virus Hunting – AIDS, Cancer & the Human Retrovirus: A Story