On January 13, Dr. Rick Hodes, who has devoted his personal and professional life to serving the poor and sick in Ethiopia, was presented with an honorary degree from Regis University.
At the Dinner of Unconditional Love in the Sheraton Hotel, the president of Regis University, Father Michael Sheeran, S.J., presented the Doctor of Humanitarian Medicine, Honoris Causa to Dr. Hodes for leading a life of distinguished service and professional achievement, which includes his work in Ethiopia for the past 28 years.
Dr. Hodes serves as the Medical Director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a 95-year old NGO, and in the past has worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.
“Every week I see a wide variety of poor patients of all religions and ethnicities, though I aim to concentrate on heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB spondylitis and severe scoliosis), and cancer,” Dr. Hodes says on his website (http://rickhodes.org). “Working out of a Catholic mission, I treat the hearts, [and] then send them to India for surgery. I treat the spines, [and] then send them to Ghana for surgery; and I do chemotherapy in Ethiopia.”
Hodes is a graduate of Middlebury College, University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His involvement with the people of Ethiopia began in 1984 when he was a relief worker during the famine, and continued with he returned on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach internal medicine.
He joined JDC in 1990 as the medical adviser for the Ethiopia, managing the care for 25,000 potential immigrants to Israel. One year later he was an integral member of “Operation Solomon,” which assisted Ethiopian Jews in the airlift to Israel.
The many accolades and recognitions Dr. Hodes has received include the finalist for “CNN Heroes,” the American College of Physicians “Mastership” award, the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine, and ABC’s Person of the Week in 2010.
During his interview on ABC Dr. Hodes expressed his passion for his work and the immense need that still exists, “There’s a lot more lives that need transforming than I’m able to do. On the other hand, it says in my religious book that if you save one life it’s as if you’ve saved an entire world.”
“Making the Crooked Straight,” a documentary that debuted on HBO in the spring of 2010, featured Dr. Hodes’ work in Ethiopia. He’s also the subject of the 2010 book “This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes,” by Marilyn Berger.
To support Dr. Rick Hodes’ lifesaving work:
Follow @rickhodes on Twitter.
UPDATE: Story on Denver Post, “A Dinner of Unconditional Love,” featuring Dr. Hodes.