The Academy is privileged to honor Nataliya Danylkova, MD with the 2022 Outstanding Humanitarian Service Award.
Dr. Danylkova was nominated by Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology for her commitment to improve the delivery of health care in Ukraine.
Born in Ukraine, Dr. Danylkova’s deep passion for humanitarian work was nurtured in her earliest years by her physician parents. As she watched her parents’ selfless commitment to serving patients in need, she learned of the unjust and great disparities in the medical care of the communist society. In the early 1990s, as a medical student in Ukraine, she not only dedicated her efforts toward becoming an excellent physician, but also fought for the freedom and independence of the young Ukrainian democracy, risking her own future career, reputation and life protesting the ruthless communist oppression.
Dr. Danylkova played a significant role in the establishment of Caritas, a charitable organization in Ternopil, Ukraine serving as the organization’s medical director. She developed home care services for over 400 patients who were not able to leave their houses due to their debilitating medical conditions. She assisted the first groups of American physicians in newly independent Ukraine to establish medical mobile units providing health and vision screenings and basic medical care to rural areas in Western Ukraine. The project served over 2,000 patients that did not otherwise have access to medical services due to lack of transportation and limited resources.
Dr. Danylkova has spent more than three decades working with and for numerous Ukrainian nonprofit organizations, hospitals and clinics providing much-needed medical care and supplies to rural areas of the Ukraine. She has also been instrumental in the fundraising efforts for the rehabilitation of Ukrainian soldiers who have been wounded during past eight years of Russian aggression in Ukraine. Since the end of February 2022, Dr. Danylkova has become a relentless advocate for the Ukrainian people affected by the Russian aggression in the unprovoked war against Ukraine. She has traveled to the refugee camp in Przemysl, at the Polish-Ukrainian border, to provide direct medical care, working with Love4Ukraine, the Polish Red Cross and SSF Rescuers without Borders. She is leading the efforts of the Minnesota Medical Relief Group to provide fast and effective medical care to refugees, wounded soldiers and civilians in the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
In addition to her efforts in the Ukraine, Dr. Danylkova works with Kenya Relief, an organization providing medical care in southwestern Kenya. For the past four years, Dr. Danylkova and her team members have served thousands of patients in the clinic and performed hundreds of cataract surgeries to patients in remote areas of Kenya. She leads by example and has inspired many other physicians to join the Kenya Relief surgical team.
Dr. Danylkova is a comprehensive ophthalmologist and a division chair at the Mankato Clinic, a multispecialty medical group in Minnesota. She also serves as a medical director of the Mankato Surgery Center and is president-elect of the Minnesota Academy of Ophthalmology.