Making a Difference
Like many a physician, Donald Rhodes has fond memories of medical school. Oh yes, graduation was a highlight, for sure, but nothing compares to meeting an attractive young school teacher! So it was that Don and Alita met in 1963 only to be married later that year!
Dr. Rhodes says he wanted to become a physician since age five, when he had his tonsils out. This desire was furthered when he had his appendix out at age nine and the doctor let him watch the operation by mirror. “He seemed like a real hero to me.”
After graduating from the University of Washington in 1966, there was the usual post-graduate training, then two years of service as a general surgeon (Major) in the Medical Corps of the U.S. Army. Much of that time was with a MASH unit in The Republic of Viet Nam. When his tour of duty ended in 1970 he completed a residency in Urology at UCLA.
By 1974 Don had fallen in love again! This time it was with the Santa Barbara Medical Foundation Clinic, now known simply as Sansum Clinic. Don enjoyed a thriving practice in general Urology for 38 years before retiring in 2012. However, a love relationship is not easily broken, so he has agreed to re-join the staff and resume his practice one day a week.
His remarkable career has been anything but mundane. He has always enjoyed the challenge of developing new state-of-the-art techniques and providing his patients with the best possible treatment. In addition to inventing medical devices, he has made many important contributions to his field through research and development projects. “I find it challenging to improvise and invent things that will make everyday procedures more accurate and beneficial for our patients.”
Meanwhile Alita continues an extremely successful career in music. She remains very active as a cellist with the Santa Barbara Symphony and continues teaching cello as well. Don and Alita are blessed to have all of their three children and grandchildren close by.
The Rhodes consider Sansum Clinic as part of their “extended family” and for that reason they have included Sansum Clinic as a beneficiary in their estate plans. Don, not surprisingly, says, “We bleed Sansum blue. We have been challenged and blessed to be part of this family. The future of healthcare is of paramount importance to us, consequently we want to share a legacy that will provide healthcare benefits for future generations.”
Pictured: Dr. Donald Rhodes and Alita and Dr. Rhodes with grandchildren Aiden, Claire and Henry.