A Maumee physician who has led 51 medical missions around the world is one of four doctors who will be inducted on April 13 into the University of Toledo’s Medical Mission Hall of Fame.
Dr. Richard Paat said he is honored to be part of the 11th class of inductees for 2013. Also being inducted are Dr. Pablo Pons and his wife, Maria Pons, both of Dublin, Ohio. Dr. Pons is a former Toledo physician. The late Dr. Albert Roode, of Donora, Pa., is being inducted posthumously.
Dr. Todd Brickman and Dr. Scott McLean, faculty members at Louisiana State University and the University of Michigan, respectively, will be presented the Lawrence V. Conway Distinguished Service Award for advancing the medical well-being of people throughout the world. The two received a portion of their training from the University of Toledo or the former Medical College of Ohio, which UT acquired and established as the UT Medical Center several years ago.
Dr. Paat, 52, has led a combination of routine medical missions, as well as crisis-driven ones in response to hurricanes, tsunamis, and earthquakes. He went on his first medical mission in 1994 “as a way to give back” for the sacrifices his parents made that allowed him to become a physician, he said.
“Eventually, it has morphed into more than that,” he said. “It allows me to think about how lucky I really am to be in the United States and have the profession I have.”
His missions have included not only trips to the Philippines, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Tanzania, and Haiti, but also relief efforts in the United States and in the Toledo area.
The latter includes participation in the annual Tent City weekend event in downtown that draws attention to the plight of homeless people. He has also worked locally with migrant field workers.
In 2005, he led a team to help Hurricane Katrina victims near Biloxi, Miss.
Last year, Dr. Paat established a free medical clinic in Perrysburg Heights. It has provided treatment to 1,000 low-income Hispanic residents. He said his work has taught him to be more humble and think more globally. It has given him an opportunity to take his children with him to help pass on those values to them, he said.
“For me, it’s been a journey. It’s a way to give back. It’s allowed me to teach the younger generation and a way to bond with my family,” Dr. Paat said.
“The common thread is how people want to help each other. In any country you go to, people are always so appreciative. We learn a lot about ourselves.”
Dr. Paat has served as chairman of medical missions for the Filipino Association of Toledo’s Special Commission on Education and Relief. His missions are credited for treating more than 79,500 people.
He also serves as the volunteer medical director for International Services of Hope, a faith-based group that provides free surgical care for impoverished children from foreign countries.
Dr. Paat was named Catholic Doctor of the Year in 2010 by the Mission Doctors Association. He is a 1986 MCO graduate.
The induction ceremony is at 7 p.m. in Room 1000B of the Howard L. Collier Building on UT’s Health Science campus. Admission is free.
The Medical Mission Hall of Fame is part of UT’s College of Medicine and Life Science department. The four new inductees are in addition to 34 previous ones.
Contact Tom Henry at: email@example.com or 419-724-6079.