The Austin College Posey Leadership Institute and STAR Leadership Program will host Dr. Rick Hodes to present “Extreme Medicine: 3 Decades in Africa.” Hodes is the Medical Director for American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Ethiopia and will speak Thursday, November 30 at 11 a.m. in the IDEA Center, room 127. The event is free and open to students, staff, and faculty.
Hodes is an American doctor who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for nearly 30 years where he oversees the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania. Currently, he is the senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping people with heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer. He practices in the basement of a busy Addis Ababa hospital, concentrating on spinal deformities and rheumatic and congenital heart disease.
Hodes is a graduate of Middlebury College and University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins. He first went to Ethiopia as a relief worker during the 1984 famine, then returned to teach at Addis Ababa University on a Fulbright Fellowship. In 1990, he was hired by the JDC as the medical adviser for the country. His original position was to care for 25,000 potential immigrants to Israel. In 1991, he was an active contributor during “Operation Solomon,” helping the Ethiopian Jews airlifted to Israel.
In 2007, Hodes was selected as a “CNN Hero,” a program that highlights ordinary people for extraordinary achievements. He was honored as ABC’s Person of the Week in 2010. He holds five honorary degrees and has been a commencement speaker at Brandeis, and UC Davis, and University of Rochester Medical Schools. The American College of Physicians has awarded him “Mastership” and the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine.
His work is the subject of the HBO documentary “Making the Crooked Straight” as well as the book “This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes” by Marilyn Berger. A recent documentary, Zemene, highlights the life of a young spine patient and her journey from rural Gondar to Addis Ababa, spine surgery in Ghana, and speaking in New York City.
Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change Lives, Austin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The College is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.