A panel of expert international judges, chosen for their experience in the medical tourism sector, study all the entries submitted and rate each submission independently on a predetermined set of criteria. Their combined ratings decide the award winner. In the case of a tie, the chairman of the judges has a casting vote to decide the winner.

The entries are judged by an independent panel, chaired by IMTJ Editor-in-Chief, Keith Pollard. The judging panel includes the following experts:

  • Mert Akkok of B2B Medical Encounters
  • Laila Al Jassmi of Health Beyond Borders
  • Elizabeth Boultbee of Boultbee & Co
  • Daniel Coulton-Shaw of Global Clinic Rating
  • Ilan Geva of Ilan Geva & Friends
  • Juan Bosco Gimeno, Healthcare & Tourism Consultant
  • Mouhanad Hammami of Global Health Consultants
  • Cassandra Italia of Global Health Travel Co
  • Tricia Johnson of Rush University
  • Rania Kimrakji of Royalty Health Consultants
  • Ralf Krewer of Bangkok Hospital
  • Lutz Lungwitz of the German Medical Wellness Association
  • Dr Claudia Mika of TEMOS
  • Clifton Orme of International Hospital Corporation
  • Laszlo Puczko of The Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa
  • Joyce Socao-Alumno of Aster DM Healthcare
  • Irving Stackpole of Stackpole & Associates
  • Jacob Thomas of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia
  • Elizabeth Ziemba of Medical Tourism Training

Judges are grouped according to expertise. Some judging groups may judge more than one category, because their expertise is broad enough, or because the category criteria are similar. Other groups may judge only one category, but it will probably be a larger category, with more entries.

The judges’ decisions are arrived at independently and are final. No correspondence will be entered into concerning the judges’ decisions.

Meet the judging panel

Keith Pollard, Editor-in-Chief of IMTJ; Executive Chairman of LaingBuisson, UK
Chairman of the Judging Panel

Keith PollardKeith is one of Europe’s leading experts on medical tourism and is a regular speaker, writer and commentator on this developing business sector. Keith’s early career in marketing within the pharmaceutical industry was followed by ten years in marketing and business development in the private healthcare sector where he gained extensive experience in the marketing of London’s leading private hospitals to international patients. In the mid 1990s, he became an internet entrepreneur, believing in the potential of the internet to disseminate healthcare information and inform patient choice for patients seeking treatment in their own country or as medical tourists.

Mert Akkök, Managing Director, B2B Medical Encounters, Turkey

Mert Akkok is the creator and executer of B2B Medical Encounters which is a network of medical tourism professionals. With a remarkable international network of medical tourism buyers and suppliers Mr Akkok, has become one of the most active opinion leaders in the medical tourism industry.  He manages consulting programs for some of Europe’s leading healthcare groups and assists them with their international patient programs as a chartered medical tourism consultant. Akkok is a member of the editorial board of Russian Medical Travel Journal (A quarterly semi-scientific journal on medical tourism studies). His company “B2B Medical Encounters” focuses on locating and contacting international mediators and facilitators of the medical tourism industry, organising fam-trips and workshops for them. B2B Encounters has successfully organised many international events on which buyers and suppliers of medical tourism have met each other and expanded their professional relation.

Laila Al Jassmi, Founder & CEO of Health Beyond Borders, UAE

laila-al-jassmiLaila is the founder & CEO of Health Beyond Borders in Dubai. Health Beyond Borders is a bespoke Dubai based healthcare advisory firm focused on healthcare strategy and research, health investment facilitation, healthcare marketing and business development in UAE, medical tourism and facilitation, training and workshops. HBB helps clients navigate through the challenges, leverage the opportunities and bring considerable economic benefit in a sustainable and effective manner. Prior to this Laila was the CEO of Health Policy and Strategy sector at Dubai Health Authority (DHA)

Elizabeth Boultbee, Managing Director, Boultbee & Co, UK

Elizabeth has been involved in the operational management of hospitals; the financing of healthcare projects and the development & maintenance of patient flows from international sources to the UK for over 20 years. Elizabeth was the Head of International Business for HCA; General Manager of the International & Private Unit at Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital for 4 years; General Manager of Moorfields Private at Moorfields Eye Hospital and Business Manager at the Private Patient Unit of University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust for 4 years significantly increasing international patient flows in each hospital.

Daniel Coulton-Shaw, GCR Clinic Ambassador, Global Clinic Rating, Austria

For both patients & clinic owners, so much is gained from looking at the quality level of any medical clinic in the world. As the co-founder of the GCR (Global Clinic Rating), since 2014 Daniel has helped assess over 400,000 healthcare clinics on behalf of patients in 126 countries of the world, and giving each clinic a 1-5 Score, based on his “4 pillars of excellence”.


Ilan Geva, President – Ilan Geva & Friends, USA

Ilan-GevaIlan Geva is a global branding and consumer behavior expert who provides consulting, teaching, training and help in developing and activating all brand touchpoints. He develops and creates Brand platforms including brand vision, strategy and personality, using strategic branding solutions for multinational, national and regional entities. Much of the work focuses on internal branding and understanding the consumers’ view of the brand. His work has won over 100 industry awards around the world.

Timothy Gibbons, Founding Director, GreenCarePlus+, USA

Tim has over 25 years of international healthcare experience working in Australia, Asia and Europe. As a leader in Medical Tourism, he served as Chairman of the MediTour Expo for 4 years in Sydney, Las Vegas, and Los Angles. He has worked with dynamic organizations such as the Dubai Health Authority, National Heart Foundation, VHA and Pacific Care.

Juan Bosco Gimeno, Consultant for Healthcare and Tourism, Spain

Juan Bosco GimenoJuan Bosco Gimeno holds an MBA from IESE Business School and a law degree from Universidad de Navarra (Spain). He works as a consultant for healthcare and tourism sectors, focused on quality management and patient safety.

Mouhanad Hammami, President and CEO, Global Health Consultants, USA

Mouhanad Hammami 2015Dr. Hammami completed his postdoctoral research in Pediatrics at the Newborn Center of the University of Tennessee in Memphis, and then accepted a faculty appointment at Wayne State University School of Medicine in Detroit, Michigan and a research position at the Detroit Medical Center, Department of Pediatrics. Dr. Hammami served as Executive Director of the National Arab American Medical Association (NAAMA) from 2006 to 2009. He was then appointed as the Chief of Health Operations of Wayne County Health Officer in 2009 where he oversees all health related matters in the 13th most populous county in the US.

Cassandra Italia, Managing Director of Global Health Travel Co, Australia

Cassandra-ItaliaCassandra Italia is the founder and Managing Director of Global Health Travel, a medical travel company established in 2008 with subsidiary businesses promoted by the Thailand Board of Investment. After completing her Bachelor of Applied Science Ms Italia relocated to Asia in 2004 and engaged in rigorous market research and business planning in the medical travel industry. As a result she was accepted into the Australian Government’s New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, a program that provides financial and strategic support to entrepreneurs. Ms Italia’s entry into the industry began with operating the Australian Representative Office for Bumrungrad International Hospital.

Tricia Johnson, Research Director, Rush University, USA

Tricia Johnson PHOTOTricia Johnson, PhD, is Associate Professor and Associate Chair of Education and Research in Health Systems Management and Director of the Rush Center for the Advancement of Healthcare Value at Rush University in Chicago, USA. As a health economist, Dr. Johnson’s research focuses understanding the economic drivers of healthcare exports. Over the past six years, she has worked with the US Cooperative for International Patient Programs to understand market dynamics for medical travel.

Rania Kimrakji, Founder & Managing Director, Royalty Consultants, UAE

Rania KimrakjiOver 20 years of experience with entrepreneurship spirit – Rania developed expertise & demonstrated success-driven strategies through implementation of key projects & based programs within Government, Diplomacy, PR /Media, and Medical, Health, & lifestyle tourism and investment Sectors locally & internationally.

Ralf Krewer, International Marketing Director, Bangkok Hospital, Thailand

Ralf KrewerRalf Krewer has studied Mandarin in China before eventually graduating in Vietnamese, Chinese and Political Science at SOAS, University of London in 1996. Since then he has lived and worked in China and Thailand. In 2000 he started to work for Bangkok Hospital, originally as Foreign Affairs Coordinator (until 2002), then as International Marketing Manager and since 2008 as International Marketing Director.


Lutz Lungwitz, President, German Medical Wellness Association, Germany

Lutz LungwitzLutz Lungwitz (born 1966 in Berlin), since 2004 has been President of the German Medical Wellness Association (www.dmwv.de) and of the International Medical Wellness Association, both based in Berlin. After high school graduation, training as a travel agent and studying business administration in Berlin, Lungwitz has worked for many years as a CEO, manager and consultant in the private sector, as well as for federal organizations.

Dr. Claudia Mika, Managing Director of Temos International GmbH, Germany

Claudia-MikaDr. Claudia Mika is the Managing Director of Temos International GmbH, a spin-off of the German Aerospace Center DLR, a German governmental research organization. Since 2004 she has been working on the Temos certification systems, assessing hospitals, rehabilitation centers, reproductive care centers, and dental clinics worldwide according to the Temos quality criteria for international patient management, developed together with leading travel health insurances and assistance companies.

Clifton Orme, President & Chief Operating Officer, International Hospital Corporation, USA

Clifton N. Orme has functioned in a leadership capacity in a variety of hospital organizations for a period of twenty-five years. Currently he is President & Chief Operating Officer of the CIMA Division of International Hospital Corporation (IHC), with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.
IHC owns and operates US-style, private healthcare facilities in Latin America. Throughout his career, Orme has led hospitals in ten distinct markets in North and Central America and has excelled at leading turnarounds and continuous improvement efforts in small to mid-size hospitals.

László Puczkó, Founder of the Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa, Hungary

laszlo-puczkoLászló has been working as a travel and tourism expert in the health, wellness, medical services and spa arena for over 20 years. He founded The Tourism Observatory for Health, Wellness and Spa (2012).He participated in more than a hundred projects in various fields: research, planning, product development, experience mapping and design, impact assessment and marketing. László is an internationally known and acknowledged expert, he lectures at various international professional and academic conferences and congresses.

Joyce Socao-Alumno, Founder & President, Health Core, Philippines


A staunch advocate for the Globalization of Healthcare and Medical Tourism, Joyce has led various initiatives in the Philippines and internationally by partnering with the government and private sectors in the development and promotion of the region as a global healthcare destination and in the capability and capacity building of the country’s healthcare organizations towards global competitiveness since 2004. In recent years, she has been advocating the ASEAN Economic Community integration for healthcare trade services that includes Medical Tourism.

Irving Stackpole, President of Stackpole and Associates, USA

With over thirty five years of experience in healthcare, senior living and human services, Irving Stackpole is the President of Stackpole & Associates, Inc., a market research, marketing, customer service and sales training, and organizational development firm. Founded in 1991, Stackpole & Associates applies scientific marketing principles to develop practical solutions to clients’ challenges. Using the most rigorous psychological and behavioral science research, Stackpole & Associates develops methods and designs that produce unimpeachable data yielding reliable, actionable recommendations.

Dato’ Dr Jacob Thomas, President of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM), Malaysia

Dato’ Dr Jacob ThomasDato’ Dr Jacob Thomas, a medical doctor, has a vast experience in hospital management, having served in various capacities at Subang Jaya Medical Centre, including as its Executive Director from 1998 till 2006. Dr Jacob Thomas is the President of the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia (APHM) since 2008 and a member of the Consultative Panel of Healthcare sector of the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC).

Elizabeth Ziemba, President of Medical Tourism Training Inc, USA

Elizabeth-ZiembaElizabeth Ziemba is the founder and President of Medical Tourism Training, the first and only company dedicated solely to on-line and on-site training and consulting solutions for the international medical travel sector. Ms. Ziemba has worked on a variety of projects in the both the public and private health care sectors conducting research, business analysis, and formulating and implementing results-oriented, practical solutions. Clients have included the World Health Organization, private and public hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, hotels, governmental and nongovernmental organizations and professional associations.