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Pangea / Specialists without Borders Alumni

Pangea has a rich history beginning as Specialist Without Borders in 2007. Over the years we have continued to have many health care and  educational professionals volunteer their time and expertise in traveling with us to Africa.

For some they joined us as medical students, others as doctors, nurses and consultants. We are incredible grateful for the impact that they have had on shaping Pangea and the work we do. 

We wanted to take the opportunity to recognise these amazing individuals. 

Dr Cecilia W. Huo

Reflection on SWB time

I joined SWB for a trip to Rwanda more than a decade ago, when I was a medical student. It was a trip of a lifetime. I got to know the local people in Rwanda, experienced first-hand their medical system and was impressed and humbled by what they managed to achieve with very limited resources. It was profoundly meaningful to me to be part of a group who made a lasting impact there by educating and sharing our medical experiences with the doctors of Rwanda, rather than merely delivering a volume of work or materials which may not always be the best way to provide health aid. Prof Kate Drummond and Mr Paul Anderson were inspirations to me and working with them shaped my view of what could be done as a surgeon beyond our operating theatres. Not to mention, it was a fun time travelling with my fellow colleagues and enthusiastic consultants – the photos of our Gorilla trekking are still cherished dearly in my living room!


Cecilia is an accredited Neurosurgery trainee who is currently in her penultimate year of training. After completing internship, she was granted the Australian Postgraduate Scholarship by the University of Melbourne for a higher degree and completed a PhD on cancer biology. She has authored over 20 manuscripts and presented her work nationally and internationally. She began training in Neurosurgery in 2020 and was awarded the Peter Leech Memorial prize for best research presentation by the Neurosurgical Society of Australasia in 2022, for her research in anterior skull base surgery. Outside work, she’s a mum to 2 young children and loves spending time with her family.

Corporate Headshot

Dr Allison Hempenstall

Reflection on SWB time

My involvement with Specialists without Borders was transformational and fostered my interest as a medical student in global and public health. 



Allison is a medical doctor, researcher and educator. She is a fellow with the Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) and has been working throughout the remote Torres Strait in Australia for the past five years. Allison currently is the public health medical officer for the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Public Health Unit in Far North Queensland, Australia. Allison was awarded a Fulbright Queensland Scholarship to undertake her Masters of Public Health specialising in global health with the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health in 2020, where she received the 2021 James H. Ware Award for Public Health Practice.

Professor Ruud (Rudi) Jaarsma

Reflection on SWB time

Teaching in Rwanda, Malawi and Zimbabwe in 2012 and 2013 and was an absolute highlight. Teaching a very eager and enthusiastic group of students is a pleasure, but also the camaraderie with other Australian specialists are a fond memory. In fact listening to talks of the other specialist was educational, because there were many medical things I had forgotten about.

Photo Rudi Jaarsma


Professor Ruurd (Rudi) Jaarsma is an orthopedic surgeon working out of Flinders Medical Center, Flinders Private Hospital and Alice Springs Hospital. He is currently the Clinical and Academic Director of Orthopaedics at the Southern Adelaide Local Health Network and the Chair of the Orthopaedic Heads of Unit in SA and NT. 

Prof. Jaarsma completed his medical degree (1994) and orthopaedic training (2003) in the Netherlands before moving to Australia in 2004. He is a Fellow of the Dutch College of Orthopaedic surgeons(2003), the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (2009) and the Australian Orthopaedic Association. Prof Jaarsma was awarded his PhD in Orthopaedic in 2004 at Radboud University in the Netherlands on the topic of rational malalignment after femoral fractures. He currently leads a PhD Cotutelle Research Program between a number of prominent universities, where there is a strong focus on trauma and Artificial Intelligence with many well known orthopaedic collaborators from around the world. The collaboration has led to the establishment of the “Trauma platform AI Consortium” with the aim of worldwide orthopaedic trauma data sharing.