Stan Brock, the humanitarian who has been delivering free health care worldwide through his nonprofit organization Remote Area Medical (RAM) for 25 years, will be recognized as the recipient of the 2010 Inamori Ethics Prize, awarded by the Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence at Case Western Reserve University.
Brock, who assembles teams of volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists and other health care professionals to provide free medical services anywhere they are needed, will receive the honor on September 1 at the Inamori International Center at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Brock will give a keynote address and take part in a panel discussion as part of the celebration.
He joins Dr. Francis S. Collins, previous leader of the Human Genome Project, and The Honorable Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, as winners of the prize.
"It's very easy to become overwhelmed by all the suffering in the world and feel like there's nothing you can do to help," said Shannon French, director of the Inamori Center. "Stan Brock's story teaches us that if we are willing to tackle just one problem with passion and persistence, we can make a real difference. The work of RAM has improved and even saved thousands of lives and touched countless hearts."
A native of Great Britain and former host of the popular NBC television series "Wild Kingdom," Brock's experiences living and working as a cowboy and a bush pilot in the central Amazon basin of Guyana inspired him to create RAM. There and during his travels with the nature show, Brock saw firsthand how people suffer and how their lives are endangered without accessible medical services.
Over the years, Brock realized just as people in developing countries often have to travel hours or days to see a doctor, similar circumstances exist for people in remote areas of the United States. And even in urban centers, Americans without insurance might as well be miles from medical services.
In 1992, Brock began to focus RAM efforts in the United States, where the organization now provides 64 percent of its services. But U.S. laws that prohibit health care professionals from practicing across state lines hampered Brock's early outreach.
RAM is headquartered near Brock's home in Tennessee, where, with his influence, the aptly titled Volunteer State has changed its laws to make it possible for many medical volunteers to legally serve beyond state boundaries. Brock continues efforts to affect laws across the country.
RAM healthcare providers have served hundreds of thousands of people and tens of thousands of animals. RAM projects include the Guyana Air Ambulance service, the Guyana Cervical Cancer Project, and the Rural America Program. RAM conducts its medical missions wherever they are needed, regardless of danger or difficult conditions, from conflict-torn East Africa to post-earthquake Haiti. Nicknamed "Saint Stan," Brock himself takes no salary and lives in an abandoned schoolhouse in Tennessee with no luxuries of any kind. He has no family and no other pursuits, working tirelessly day after day to bring healthcare and hope to desperate people from the hills of Appalachia to the mountains of Nepal.
"When we asked Dr. Inamori to give us an example of the type of person we should honor with this prize, he said, 'Mother Theresa.' Stan Brock certainly fits that model. He is hard-working, humble and utterly selfless, and he has dedicated his life to the service of those in need," French said.
It is impossible to know how many people owe their lives to this modest and humble man.
Presented annually to an individual who has demonstrated exemplary ethical leadership, the Inamori Ethics Prize honors those whose actions and influence have greatly improved the condition of humankind. First awarded in 2008, the Inamori Ethics Prize carries with it a monetary award, which is intended to support the recipient's ongoing work. Each year's recipient is conferred the prize at Case Western Reserve University, where he or she also delivers a public lecture about his or her work and the challenges that lie ahead.
In its short lifespan, the Inamori Ethics Prize has become an indicator of additional honors. Not long after receiving the honor, Francis S. Collins was named director of the National Institutes of Health, while Mary Robinson was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom following the announcement of her Inamori Ethics Prize award and received the prestigious "Entrepreneur for the World" Award from the World Entrepreneurship Forum shortly thereafter.
The Inamori International Center for Ethics and Excellence began in July 2006 as the result of a generous gift from Kazuo Inamori and the Inamori Foundation of Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Inamori, founder of the Kyocera Corporation, believes that "people have no higher calling than to serve the greater good of humankind and society" and "the future of humanity can be assured only through the balance of scientific progress and spiritual maturity."
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