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Larry Hull, MD, honored with Humanitarian Award

AAOS fellow Larry Dale Hull, MD, is dedicated to healing the human spirit as well as the human body. Recognizing this devotion, the AAOS yesterday presented the 2010 Human­itarian Award to Dr. Hull for his three decades of medical mission work.

Dr. Hull, founder of the Washington Orthopaedic Center in Centralia, Wash., began making medical mission trips in 1976, bringing orthopaedic and primary care to underserved populations in Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Since that time, he has completed nearly 40 medical mission trips.

Larry Dale Hull, MD

“I am surprised and very thankful to be receiving this award,” said Dr. Hull. “What I am most grateful for and what I get the most energy out of is seeing patients who are in need of medical care recover so that they can get back into the wonderful journey of life.

“I believe that not only can I touch lives medically, but I can also help them in other areas of need,” he added.

Dr. Hull and his wife Aarlie own a coffee plantation in Papua New Guinea that employs hundreds of people in the area. The couple also collaborated with coffee roasters and friends to build a school, put in nine wells to supply clean water, preventing childhood infection and death, and built a fully staffed medical clinic on the plantation. The medical clinic boasts 10,000 patient visits, vaccinates upwards of 5,000 children per year, and offers health education emphasizing proper nutrition, HIV/AIDS prevention, and sanitation issues.

When the Hulls noticed that the schools in the Waghi valley around the plantation did not have books, they initiated a book drive with coffee roasters from all across the United States. In spring 2010, a container of more than 50,000 books will arrive at the plantation and be distributed to school libraries.

“He has given his time, his talents, his energy, his heart, and his resources in a selfless service of healing,” said Jim Radcliffe, MD, chief of staff of Kudjip Nazarene Hospital. “He has been a great blessing to us and to the people of Papua New Guinea.”

Dr. Hull is also instrumental in the Surgical Implant Generation Network (SIGN), an organization that provides surgeons in developing nations with the training and instruments they need to improve the quality of fracture care. Through this effort, he and his office have funded and provided SIGN equipment for the Kudjip Nazarene Hospital, which serves the Western Highlands Providence of Papua New Guinea, and the Government Hospital Gaspar Garcia Lavinana in Rivas, Nicaragua.

In a letter to Dr. Hull, Dr. Edgard Guzman, orthopaedic department chief at the Hospital Gaspar Garcia Lavinana, wrote, “Deep from in my heart I want to thank you for the help you have provided us and our hospital.

“Formerly, we were unable to treat fractures and other complicated orthopaedic problems in our economically poor patients,” Dr. Guzman added. “Without the help of the electric drills, nails, orthopaedic plates, and screws; the equipment for hips, knees, and circulation; the partial and total prostheses for hips and knees; the nails that you provided, and a lot of other things, it would have been very difficult to treat trauma and orthopaedic problems in our hospital. We hope that God will continue to grant you good health so that you can continue helping the poorest of the world.”

Dr. Hull is also the recipient of many other honors, including the Physician of the Year award from Providence Centralia Hospital, the Northwest Nazarene University Alumnus of the Year award, and the International Nazarene Church Good Samaritan award.

In his nomination letter, Keith V. Anderson, MD, founder of the Washington Orthopaedic Center, said that Dr. . Hull “stands as a beacon of integrity to his community.” In presenting the award to Dr. Hull, AAOS President Joseph D. Zuckerman, MD, echoed that sentiment, calling him “the ultimate humanitarian.”

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