Mr. President, it is my honor to present to you a distinguished surgeon and academic, Prof. Edgar Rodas of Cuenca, Ecuador, for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Professor Rodas studied at the University of Cuenca and, after a tour with Project Hope in Guayaquil in 1964, was invited to the U.S., where he completed his surgical residency at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. He then returned to Cuenca and rose through the ranks at the University of Cuenca, eventually becoming vice-rector from 1985 to 1990.
First and foremost, he has always been an exemplary clinician. Professor Rodas has distinguished himself in the area of humanitarian causes, which includes establishing Cinterandes Foundation for mobile surgery in Ecuador. The foundation has performed thousands of procedures since its implementation in 1990. The program equips highly qualified volunteer surgeons from Ecuador and abroad with strict evidence-based protocols, which have resulted in enviable clinical outcomes, to bring previously unavailable advanced surgical services to the poor in the most remote parts of Ecuador and integrate primary care in a coherent and seamless medical enterprise. The clinical outcomes have been carefully chronicled, and the enviable results have been widely published.
Professor Rodas served as Minister of Health for Ecuador and has been honored by many international organizations. His program in mobile surgery has been a template for other countries and continues to lead the way in volunteerism and humanitarian surgery. He has been visiting professor at many departments in the U.S. and maintains a cordial and highly productive interaction with his U.S. colleagues. He received the ACS Surgical Humanitarian Award in 2009.
He has been a strong and effective voice for academic surgery in Ecuador and beyond throughout his career. He was founder of the medical school at the University of Azuay and served as dean from 2003 to 2009.
If I could praise just one of his characteristics, it would be his poise. Professor Rodas attended an all-night soliloquy by Fidel Castro with other health ministers without losing attention. He survived a Maoist takeover of his medical school without losing credibility. He has visited prisons in his capacity as president of the Ecuadorian section of Amnesty International. He has slogged through some of the worst terrain on earth, including jungles plagued with malaria and dengue fever, Andean villages at 14,000 feet, volcanoes, and riots to deliver his surgical programs. He never loses his dignity or his compassion and penetrating intellect. When faced with the cycle of politics and economic difficulty in his country, he has always manifested optimism and enthusiasm, and has affected thousands of students and colleagues with his belief in the potential of human caring.
Professor Rodas and his wife, Dolores, have four children, including a son who has completed surgical training in the U.S. and returned to Ecuador to practice and join his father in volunteerism.
Mr. President, Professor Rodas is a role model for academic surgeons and young people who want to serve others in profound and challenging ways. I feel privileged to present him for Honorary Fellowship in the American College of Surgeons.