After almost 40 years of medical service to the Cincinnati area and at the age of 65, Dr. Cecil Striker made the decision to volunteer for a two month tour aboard the S.S. HOPE. “I’ll get more out of it than I put in.” This quote by Dr. Striker was the response he gave to his upcoming stint on the S.S. HOPE. His tour, beginning January 10, 1966 and going through March 10, 1966, made Dr. Striker the first physician in the Cincinnati area to donate his time to this cause.
Project HOPE, which was founded in 1958 by Dr. William B. Walsh, aimed to teach medical and dental personnel from developing countries all the latest techniques and advances of U.S. medical science. To facilitate this cause, Project HOPE borrowed a 15,000-ton naval ship, refitted it to meet their needs, and named it the S.S. HOPE. This ship was fully staffed with physicians, nurses, and medical technicians, and teams of volunteers from 20 medical specialty areas were flown to the ship for their 2-month unpaid tours. Voyage destinations included Indonesia, South Vietnam, Peru, and Guinea.
Dr. Striker’s voyage was to Nicaragua and his primary role was to serve in a teaching capacity. At the time, the country of Nicaragua only had one medical school. With Nicaraguan physicians as counterparts, Dr. Striker would spend his days conducting lectures, round-table seminars, and completing rounds – all in an attempt to share his knowledge with others. Dr. Striker remarked that, “I believe we have more medical knowledge than any other country. And we should try to transmit that knowledge to others.” Through Project HOPE, Dr. Striker was able to do just that.
The work of Project HOPE continues today. In Cameroon, Project HOPE volunteers are currently participating in a long-term land-based mission to train local doctors and nurses as well as develop programs aimed at women’s health and reducing neonatal mortality. In Indonesia, Project HOPE volunteers can be found not only working to develop professional medical personnel, but also responding to local disasters such as the Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 and a devastating earthquake in 2006. In Peru, Project HOPE’s creation of the Village Health Bank (VHB) works to improve economic security as well as the quality of life for the area’s most needy. The benefits of this program can be felt by 14,500 women and 10,500 children. Undertakings such as these and the hundreds of others help Project HOPE continue to fulfill their mission“to achieve sustainable advances in health care around the world by implementing health education programs and providing humanitarian assistance in areas of need.”
 Project Hope’s mission statement and information about its history and current activities can be found on their website – http://www.projecthope.org/