Rick Hodes is an American doctor who has lived and worked in Ethiopia for over 20 years. He is the Medical Director of Ethiopia for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a 95-year old NGO. Over the years, he has been in charge of the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel. Currently, he is the senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping sick destitutes with heart disease (rheumatic and congenital), spine disease (TB and scoliosis), and cancer. He has also worked with refugees in Rwanda, Zaire, Tanzania, Somalia, and Albania.
Hodes is a graduate of Middlebury College and University of Rochester Medical School, and trained in internal medicine at Johns Hopkins. Hodes 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 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, Dr. Hodes was selected as a finalist for “CNN Heroes,” a program that highlights ordinary people for their extraordinary achievements.The American College of Physicians has awarded him “Mastership” and the Rosenthal Award for creative practice of medicine. He was honored as ABC’s Person of the Week in 2010.
His work is the subject of the HBO documentary “Making the Crooked Straight” as well as a new book “This is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes.”