When Ingida Asfaw ’62 first arrived at what was then Eastern Mennonite College, his English skills were limited and he had almost no money. He was late for the start of classes, after a slow journey by cargo ship from his native Ethiopia.
This fall, nearly 50 years later, he will return to Eastern Mennonite University as a distinguished surgeon, the winner of a 2006 national award for charitable service sponsored by Volvo, and EMU’s 2007 alumnus of the year.
Asfaw, who lives near Detroit, is chief of cardiovascular surgery at Sinai-Grace Hospital, clinical professor of surgery at Wayne State University, chairman of cardiothoracic surgery at Trinity Health-St. Joseph Mercy Oakland, and chief executive officer of Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeons of Michigan.
But a major focus of his life is the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association, a volunteer network he founded in 1999. The organization now includes some 500 doctors, nurses and other participants. Its members donate their time and skills in Ethiopia, a country where there is only one doctor for every 100,000 people.
Published August 2007