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Doctor/deacon honored with humanitarian award

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Dr. Mark Alexander, also a deacon of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, shows his dedication to Gospel values through volunteerism. (CT Photo)
Dr. Mark Alexander, also a deacon of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, shows his dedication to Gospel values through volunteerism. (CT Photo)

By Walt Scaefer
For The Catholic Telegraph 

Dr. Marc Alexander learned his philosophy for life from his days at Elder High School. A big part of what is instilled in Elder students is to share one’s talents and blessings with others.

Many people think he goes far beyond the call. The Academy of Medicine of Cincinnati Foundation recently honored Alexander along with another Cincinnati physician, Dr. S. Nemat Moussavian, with the Daniel Drake Humanitarian Award.

The award recognizes  “living physicians who have given generously of themselves to their patients and/or community in which they live by demonstrating a history of awareness and self dedication to the needs of others.”

Specifically, Alexander was recognized for the work he does at the Good Samaritan Free Clinic of Price Hill.

Alexander is an internist with TriHealth. His practice is based in Bridgetown. Besides maintaining his practice he gives back as:

• Physician champion at the Good Samaritan Free Clinic of Price Hill where he has recruited more than 50 physicians and dentists to volunteer their time and services to the poor.

• Volunteer medical director for the Little Sisters of the Poor.

• A volunteer for the St. Vincent de Paul Cathedral Conference serving downtown and Over-the-Rhine where he helps coordinate non-medical assistance for the poor such as home visits, energy assistance, and vouchers for clothing and furniture.

• Volunteer physician at Elder High School where he primarily completes physical exams for student athletes.

 

Also, Alexander, ordained a deacon in 2013, serves at Our Lady of the Visitation Parish.

“Every week I volunteer eight to 10 hours. Every Saturday, I’m at the free clinic in Price Hill seeing patients and I see patients at the Little Sisters of the Poor for whatever money any insurance provides,” Alexander said.

“I got nervous when I got the award. I could think of 100 people who do more than I do. Almost everybody who does these things does not feel they are worthy. They do it because God calls them and that is how I feel about this award,” he said.

“My motivation for doing all of this stuff is to the best of my humble ability live the Gospel. If I can change one person’s life or one person’s attitude, I feel it’s worth doing. To sit here and toot my own horn is almost embarrassing.

“My sole motivation is to give back. I have had a great life. The only major disappointment in my life is when my father died of a massive heart attack. God blessed me with a lot of energy that allows me to do all of this,” Alexander said. “I’m married to Barbara for 37 years. We’ve been blessed with four children.”

Besides maintaining his practice, volunteer work and diaconate duties, Alexander finds time to teach a class at Good Samaritan Hospital, do seminars at his parish, run about 15 miles a week, maintain his yard, play guitar in a blues band, and trout fish at a private club near Springfield, Ohio.

It’s difficult to comprehend. Alexander almost quit medicine nine years ago and a difficult and trying situation resulted in his call to the diaconate.

“I had a patient going bad on me with recurrent cancer and I became very close to this patient. I felt mad, frustrated and I went to bed that night and I thought, ‘this job is too hard. I can’t continue to do this. It takes too much of a toll on me.’ I couldn’t sleep.

“Then this idea popped into my head. God says to me, ‘I intend to use you in a different way’ “ as a deacon.  “My initial response was, ‘That’s the dumbest thing I have heard.” And then I thought, “You know, I could do that.’

“Then my cocky side came out and I thought, ‘Hey, I could be pretty good at that.’”

Now, Alexander serves as doctor and deacon.  At 59, he intends to keep practicing medicine for another nine or 10 years and serve as a deacon for as long as he can.

 

This Everyday Evangelist feature originally appeared in the November 2014 print edition of The Catholic Telegraph.

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