Rick Hodes is an American physician who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for over 30 years. Raised in Long Island, he is the Medical Director of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) in Ethiopia, a 105-year old NGO. He has been in charge of the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.
Currently, he practices in the basement of a busy Addis Ababa hospital, concentrating on spinal deformities, and rheumatic and congenital heart disease. All care is free. Unable to get free surgery for his first spine patients, he adopted them and brought them to the US. A colleague recently said “Rick has the largest collection of the worst spines in the world.” He collaborates with colleagues in Ghana, India, Israel, Germany, and the US. He is also the senior consultant at Mother Teresa’s mission.
Rick is a graduate of Middlebury College and University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview. Hodes first went to Ethiopia as a relief worker during the 1984 famine. He returned there on a Fulbright Fellowship to teach internal medicine at Addis Ababa University, and in 1990 was hired by the JDC to care for 25,000 potential immigrants to Israel. In 1991, he was part of “Operation Solomon,” which airlifted Ethiopian Jews to Israel.
Rick was a “CNN Hero" in 2007, and was ABC’s "Person of the Week" in 2010. He is the holder of 5 honorary doctorates and has been 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. He has published over 20 papers in medical journals.
He 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.
Rick lives with his family in Addis Ababa.
On this episode, Rick shares his one way ticket to an Ethiopia where everybody has a straight spine. He also shares his remarkable work in helping those with spinal deformities. Plus, Rick talks about his love of Ethiopia and some of his favorite places to visit in his adopted home country.
Rick is just one of the dynamic guests featured on The One Way Ticket Show, where Host Steven Shalowitz explores with his guests where they would go if given a one way ticket, no coming back! Destinations may be in the past, present, future, real, imaginary or a state of mind.
Steven's guests have included: Nobel Peace Prize Winner, President Jose Ramos-Horta; Legendary Talk Show Host, Dick Cavett; Law Professor, Alan Dershowitz; Fashion Expert, Tim Gunn; Broadcast Legend, Charles Osgood; International Rescue Committee President & CEO, David Miliband; Playwright, David Henry Hwang; Journalist-Humorist-Actor, Mo Rocca; SkyBridge Capital Founder & Co-Managing Partner, Anthony Scaramucci; Abercrombie & Kent Founder, Geoffrey Kent; Travel Expert, Pauline Frommer, as well as leading photographers, artists, chefs, writers, intellectuals and more.