2022 Gerson L’Chaim Prize Brings Hope, Healing to Children with Spinal Deformities in Ethiopia

DELAND, Fla., Aug. 7, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — African Mission Healthcare (AMH) is excited to announce the 2022 Gerson L’Chaim Prize for Outstanding Christian Medical Missionary Service will be awarded to Dr. Timothy Nunn. Dr. Nunn serves as medical director and orthopedic surgeon at CURE Ethiopia, a charitable pediatric hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dr. Nunn has served at CURE Ethiopia since 2014.

The L’Chaim (‘To Life’ in Hebrew) Prize was launched in 2016 through the generosity of AMH Co-Founders Rabbi Erica and Mark Gerson. The annual award of $500,000 is the world’s largest annual award dedicated to direct patient care.

An estimated 50,000 children in Ethiopia urgently need interventions for spinal deformities. The award will help launch CURE Ethiopia’s pediatric spinal surgery program — the first and only in the country of 118 million people. This initiative is also supported by the Tim Tebow Foundation, a global nonprofit that serves vulnerable children, especially those with disabilities.

CURE Ethiopia is working with American specialist Dr. Rick Hodes, of the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, who has moved his long-standing pediatric spine clinic to the CURE hospital.  AMH Co-Founder and Prize sponsor Mark Gerson observed, “Dr. Nunn is an excellent choice for this year’s L’Chaim Prize Laureate. For nearly a decade he has worked tirelessly to improve the lives of thousands of children. I love that the planned spinal surgery program will combine the efforts of individuals and organizations from multiple faith traditions including Dr. Nunn, devout Jew and AMH partner, Dr. Rick Hodes, CURE Ethiopia, and AMH. Together we will provide hope and healing for thousands of children and their families.”

The L’Chaim prize will be a catalyst and help CURE Ethiopia build upon these partnerships and expand its pediatric spinal surgery program, the first and only in a country with less than two orthopedic surgeons for every million people. The prize funds will be used to:

  • Hire an additional orthopedic surgeon with a focus on spine care,
  • Support outpatient clinics, screening programs, and surgical and non-invasive spinal therapies, and
  • Bring hope to thousands of Ethiopian children suffering from spinal deformities.

“I am passionate about healing pediatric patients because their treatable disability robs them of an opportunity for a full and productive life,” said Dr. Nunn, L’Chaim Prize Laureate. “Thank you to AMH for helping to fill this immense need and to the supporters of CURE International for providing these life-changing medical services.”

Children with spinal conditions and their families often face multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, stigmatization, social exclusion, harassment, and abuse. Studies have also found that children with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries are nearly four times more likely to experience abuse.

The Spine Program was unanimously selected for this award by AMH’s L’Chaim Prize committee based on 1) the tremendous need, 2) the strong and successful record of CURE Ethiopia, and 3) the potential for catalyzing a “movement” that is much greater than the initial investment.

CURE Ethiopia is a 70-bed pediatric teaching hospital in the capital city of Addis Ababa. The hospital has treated over 98,000 patients and performed nearly 28,000 surgeries and procedures since opening in 2008.

African Mission Healthcare (AMH) partners with Christian mission hospitals to serve people in greatest need and enhance each hospital’s capacity to deliver quality medical care and training. The aspiration is an African continent filled with enduring and improving health systems where everyone has access to quality, compassionate health care.

Founded in 2010, AMH has invested $37.5 million in 48 partners in 18 countries, enabling 800,000 direct patient visits, sponsoring 24,700 surgeries and corrective procedures, and training 5,700 health workers.  AMH supports training programs and direct clinical care, assists with procuring supplies and medical equipment, and is involved in a wide range of construction and renovation projects across sub-Saharan Africa. Examples include operating the largest HIV clinical training program in Kenya; sponsoring the education of nurse anesthetists, surgeons, and nurses; constructing and renovating operating theaters, patient wards, medical education buildings, and oxygen plants in places like Burundi, Gabon, Kenya, Malawi, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. 

Mark Gerson, a devoted Jew, is an entrepreneur and philanthropist who (along with his wife, Rabbi Erica Gerson) is perhaps the world’s largest individual supporter of Christian medical missions. He is the co-founder of African Mission Healthcare and co-founder and Chair of United Hatzalah of Israel, the crowd-sourced volunteer system of rapid first responders. He is the author of a book on the Haggadah entitled “The Telling: How Judaism’s Essential Book Reveals the Meaning of Life.”

CURE International is a Christian nonprofit organization operating a global network of eight children’s hospitals that offer free surgical interventions for children living with treatable disabilities. CURE hospitals provide life-changing care for children suffering from conditions such as cleft lip/palate, neglected clubfoot, bowed legs, burn contractures, spina bifida, brain tumors, and hydrocephalus. In addition to world-class clinical service, CURE ministers to the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their communities. Since its first hospital opened in 1998, CURE has completed more than 5 million patient visits and 300,000 life-changing surgeries. For more information, visit https://cure.org.

Perry Jansen



SOURCE African Mission Healthcare