Dr. Hodes (www.rickhodes.org; @rickhodes) is an American internist in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He is the Ethiopian medical director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a 103 year old organization that provides high-impact disaster relief and long-term development assistance worldwide.
Dr. Hodes completed his undergraduate degree at Middlebury College in 1975; completed his medical degree at University of Rochester School of Medicine in 1982; and then completed an internal medicine residency at Johns Hopkins University in 1985.
Before completing his residency, Dr. Hodes made his first trip to Ethiopia as a relief worker during the 1984 famine. He then won a Fulbright Fellowship after residency to teach at Addis Ababa University School of Medicine from 1985-1988. In 1990, he joined the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee to help care for the Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, work that eventually led him to become senior consultant at Mother Teresa’s Mission, caring for sick and destitute patients. In addition to his work in Ethiopia, he has worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, and Albania, in one instance being charged with the health of some 50,000 refugees in the Kibumba camp in Zaire.
In 1999, Dr. Hodes met 2 abandoned orphans with Pott’s Disease (or, tuberculosis of the spine) and adopted them so that he could put them on this insurance so that he could bring them to the United States for surgery. This set in motion events that would see Dr. Hodes officially launch the Ethiopian spine program in 2006. During that first year, he got 20 new patients with spinal deformities. The clinic now averages over 1 new patient a day. Today, following nearly 3000 spine patients, Dr. Hodes partners with world-renowned, Ghanaian spine surgeon Dr. Oheneba Boachie-Adjei, with whom he has arranged over 600 surgeries. Observing this, noted Indian spine surgeon Dr. S. Rajasekaran commented “Rick has the largest collection of the worst spines in the world.”
Dr. Hodes has published over 20 peer-reviewed articles in the medical literature; has been awarded 5 honorary doctorates; and has been a commencement speaker at multiple schools, including the University of Rochester, UC Davis, and Brandeis. The American College of Physicians has awarded him “Mastership” (the level of membership above fellow), as well as the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine. He was recognized as a CNN Hero in the category “Champion of Children.” He is the subject of 4 documentary films, including “Making the Crooked Straight” and “Zemene,” as well as a book, “This is a Soul: the Mission of Rick Hodes” by Marilyn Berger.
Dr. Hodes lives in Ethiopia with his family and patients.
Please enjoy with Dr. Rick Hodes!
Selected Show Notes
Doctors who wrote about working over seas:
Where I got my definition of “International Health:
Other useful papers for defining “International health”
- Article from the AAMC’s Careers in Medicine “Careers in International Medicine“
- Paper: “What is Global Health“
- When Breathe Becomes Air
- Cutting For Stone
- Of Human Bondage
- Book about Dr. Hodes