Honorary Degree, Middlebury College

Dr. Hodes was recently awarded an honorary degree from Middlebury College in Middlebury, Vermont. Take a look at the following note from the President, Ronald Leibowitz:

Honorary Doctorate in Science: DSc, May, 2006

Richard Michael Hodes, ’75

Richard Michael Hodes, physician, humanitarian, global citizen. As a physician, you have cared for the displaced, the forgotten, the unwanted, the destitute. You have treated victims of cholera, AIDS, tuberculosis, heart disease, famine, genocide, and the most vile forms of cancer. Your work has taken you to the Congo, Rwanda, Albania, Tanzania, Somalia, Sudan, and Ethiopia, where you have practiced medicine and given hope to the hopeless for the past seventeen years.

You serve as medical director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, the international relief arm of the American Jewry, where you continue a rich legacy of humanitarian concern. Yet your relief work is not bound by organizational strictures or defined by a job description. You truly live your work in the most profound sense – exhibiting a selfless generosity that will be your legacy. You have adopted five Ethiopian orphans and have taken a total of 14 abandoned children into your home.

You have provided chemotherapy on the porch of your Ethiopian home, and you have sent more than 40 children to the United States for
specialized surgery not available in Africa. You have volunteered at Mother Teresa’s Mission for Sick and Dying Destitutes, and you have advised the Children of Ethiopia Education Fund, which is now providing education for more than 500 impoverished girls in private schools. Your work has been recognized and honored worldwide, and this year you are to be inducted into the Medical Mission Hall of Fame.

Somehow you have also found time to mentor a number of Middlebury students and graduates, bringing them to Africa to assist you in your endeavors – and hopefully ensuring that your generosity of mind and soul will be passed on to the generations that follow. Your spirit,
your selflessness, your compassing, and your healing touch we honor today.

It is therefore my privilege, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Middlebury College, to confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Science, honoris causa, with all the rights, honors, privileges and responsibilities here and everywhere appertaining to this degree.

Ronald Leibowitz

Tesfaye Returns Home!

Tesfaye is a teenage boy from rural Gojjam who came to me at a Catholic mission where I see spine patients as part of our JDC spine program. Tesfaye had a bad back for years, due to tuberculosis as well as ankylosing spondylitis. I ended up sending Tesfaye to Dr. Boachie in Ghana 3 times. In the end, he never had surgery because he needed more complicated aftercare than Ghana could offer.

It seemed like it would be impossible to help Tesfaye, and he was stuck with a reptile-like back. That is, until Gary Segal of Vancouver visited us, and he took up Tesfaye’s cause. He negotiated with Vancouver General Hospital, and he funded Tesfaye’s surgery there. Last summer, Dr. Marcel Dvorak and his team operated successfully.

Gary has done a wonderful job reporting all this on his blog: http://tesfayesjourney.blogspot.com

Tesfaye is now back in Addis Ababa and going to school. Even better, Gary came to Ethiopia some months ago and brought Tesfaye back to his village, where his mom saw him for the first time after surgery. The whole village celebrated.

Many thanks to Gary, Dr. Dvorak, his team in Vancouver, and everyone else who helped Tesfaye.

Click to learn more about Tesfaye’s History. Photos and history distributed with permission.



Tesfaye with Dr. Rick