Rick Hodes

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Rick Hodes
BornMay 30, 1953

Rick Hodes is an American medical doctor specializing in cancer, heart disease, and spinal conditions. Since the 1980s he has worked in Ethiopia and has adopted a number of children from the country.[1][2] Currently, he is the senior consultant at a Catholic mission working with sick destitutes suffering from heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer. He is medical director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee.

Hodes has been responsible for the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel and has worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.


Hodes graduated from Middlebury College, University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins University.[2] He first went to Ethiopia as a relief worker during the 1984 famine. He returned there on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach internal medicine, and in 1990 was hired by the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, a humanitarian group, as the medical advisor 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 2001 Hodes adopted two Ethiopian children, putting them on his insurance plan so they could receive treatment in the US for spinal tuberculosis (Pott's disease).[2] Since then he has adopted a total of five children from the country.

In 2007, Hodes was selected as a "CNN Hero," a program that highlights ordinary people for their extraordinary achievements.[3] The American College of Physicians has awarded him “Mastership,” and the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine

Hodes work in Ethiopia was the subject of a HBO documentary, "Making the Crooked Straight" and a Marilyn Berger book, "This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes".[1][4][5]

Personal life[edit]

Rick Hodes is a baal teshuva, a secular Jew who has embraced Orthodox Judaism.[6]

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Humpbacked Children Have a Hero in Ethiopia". National Public Radio.
  2. ^ a b c "Dr. Rick Hodes Helps the Children of Ethiopia". Readers Digest.
  3. ^ http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/dr-rick-hodes-helps-the-children-of-ethiopia/article104652.html
  4. ^ This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes.
  5. ^ "Making the Crooked Straight".
  6. ^ http://www.jta.org/news/article/2010/05/04/2394657/jewish-doctor-in-ethiopia-hailed-in-new-book-film