American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

2013 International Volunteer Award: Ingida Asfaw

Dr. Asfaw (in suit) and nurses with the first patients at the newly opened state-of-the-art Maternal Child Health Center in Hawassa, Ethiopia, 2011.

Ingida Asfaw, MD, FACS, of Grosse Pointe, MI, received the 2013 Surgical Volunteerism Award for international outreach for his commitment to improving medical and surgical care in Ethiopia. In 1999, Dr. Asfaw founded the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association (ENAHPA), a not-for-profit organization charged with improving access to quality surgical and medical care in Ethiopia. In 2003, during their first medical/surgical mission in Ethiopia, Dr. Asfaw and his team performed the country’s first-ever open-heart surgery and laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and implanted the first cardiac pacemaker. Since then, ENAHPA has conducted over 40 medical/surgical missions to Ethiopia, performing nearly 3,000 procedures across all specialties. Under Dr. Asfaw’s leadership, ENAHPA has had far-reaching and lasting impact on the Ethiopian healthcare system through numerous initiatives dedicated to sustainability and capacity building. The organization established surgical skills laboratories at Addis Ababa and Gondar Universities, an emergency medicine residency training program and first responder/allied health education at Addis Ababa University and St. Paul’s General Hospital, and a maternal child health center in Hawassa, among other medical and educational infrastructure improvements. ENAHPA continues to provide oversight to its initiatives by collaborating with local healthcare officials while transferring much of the programmatic control to the local workforce.