05/03/2017

Alumni Success: Dr. Jorge E. Echenique '78

The Loyola University New Orleans Alumni Association has selected Dr. Jorge E. Echenique ’78 as the 2017 recipient of the Adjutor Hominum Award, the highest honor bestowed by the Alumni Association.

Each year, the Association recognizes an outstanding graduate whose life demonstrates the values and philosophy of a Jesuit education—namely moral character, service to humanity and unquestionable integrity. The Adjutor Hominum Award will be presented to Dr. Jorge E. Echenique on June 4, 2017, at the annual Alumni Association Jazz Brunch at the Audubon Tea Room. For ticket information, please register online at alumni.loyno.edu/brunch. Any questions or concerns, contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at 1-800-ALUM, 504-861-5454, or alumni@loyno.edu

Echenique graduated Summa Cum Laude from Loyola in 1978 with a bachelor’s degree in science. Dr. Echenique points to the profound influence on his life of Rev. John H. Mullahy, S.J., longtime chair of Loyola’s Biology Department.  Dr. Echenique went on to graduate from the School of Medicine at Emory University.  He then returned to Miami and established a thriving and service-oriented medical practice. Listed as one of Miami’s best Urologists  (Metro Miami Magazine, 1998), Dr. Echenique received a Distinguished Service Award from the Miami-Dade County Health Department (2006), as well as the Knights of Malta Service Award, Pro Merito Melitensi (2010).

In 1999, Echenique began working with the Institute for Latin American Concern (ILAC), a Jesuit mission in Santiago, Dominican Republic. With the ILAC, he traveled to remote villages whose people were in dire need of medical care. For the first three years, it was just Echenique and his nurse assistant, traveling risky, dirt roads to villages where he would attend to large numbers of patients, while also bringing much-needed medical supplies. From 2003-2008, Echnique concentrated on expanding the mission by getting more doctors involved with the Knights of Malta organization, to which he belongs, and increasing the donations of medicines and supplies to impact and serve more people during the now bi-annual missions. By 2005, with the help of his leadership and planning, a surgical center was built in Santiago at the ILAC Center. This center is now used year-round by many different groups of medical doctors from all over the United States, providing free healthcare to the tenant farm workers and their families throughout the Dominican Republic. 

Meanwhile, Echenique continues to organize and lead his bi-annual missions to the Dominican Republic. His missions have now grown to include 20 specialized doctors, 10 nurses, more than 40 volunteers, and over $100,000 in donated medicines and surgical supplies. Each mission takes him three months to carefully plan; during a 4-day period, doctors will see and treat more than 1,100 patients. On each of these missions, over 50 life-changing surgical procedures are performed by the volunteer surgical team. 

According to Echenique, “As a physician you spend your life helping people by taking care of them, but this is what medicine is all about.”  “The essence of medicine is helping people for free— for no other reason but to help them,” he adds.  “You think you bring many things to these people, but in reality, you receive so much more from them in their smiles and their gratefulness,” Echenique concludes.

In addition to his bi-annual life-saving missions to the Dominican Republic, Echenique is also a volunteer at the St. John Bosco Clinic for indigent care in Miami, Florida; a member of Miami’s Peacock Foundation , Inc., which is committed to enhancing and promoting the health and well-being of South Florida’s children and families; and a volunteer at Camillus Health through Reach Out Miami, from whom he won an award for his dedication and commitment to caring for Miami’s indigent population (1996).  Dr. Echenique also has remained involved with Loyola as an active member of the Alumni Association and a generous donor over many years.

For additional information, contact the Office of Engagement at 800-798-ALUM, 504-861-5454, or alumni@loyno.edu.

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