$1.1 Million Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity Awarded to CMMB medical volunteer – Dr. Tom Catena!

Adrian V. Kerrigan
Senior Vice President for Partnerships
Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB)

The Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity was awarded to Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) long time medical volunteer, Dr. Tom Catena, an internationally recognized humanitarian and Catholic missionary. Catena was honored at the prize ceremony in Yerevan, Armenia, for his courageous work as the first and only permanent medical doctor serving 750,000 people in Sudan’s war-torn, Nuba Mountains since 2008.

Catena typically treats up to 500 patients in a day and is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, delivering babies, performing surgeries, and treating injuries resulting from bombings. He has saved the lives of over 1,700 victims of war and countless others.

Dr. Tom Catena (Source: CMMB)

George Clooney, Academy Award-winning actor and Co-Chair of the Aurora Prize Selection Committee, commended Dr. Catena by stating, “As violence and war continue to threaten people’s spirits and perseverance, it is important to recognize, empower and celebrate people like Dr. Catena who are selflessly helping others to not only survive but thrive. Dr. Catena is a role model to us all, and yet another example of people on the ground truly making a difference.”

CMMB President and CEO Bruce Wilkinson said, “Dr. Tom inspires all of us by his selfless dedication to bringing healing and hope in a forgotten and war ravaged part of the world. His humble and long-term service sets an example to humanitarians everywhere and challenges them to recommit to the struggle for justice and protection for the most vulnerable. CMMB is proud to be the longtime partner of such an inspirational doctor and humanitarian. Congratulations, Dr. Tom.”

Despite years of violent conflict, Catena remains in Sudan, saying, “My decision to stay here was a simple one. As the only doctor at the only major hospital in the Nuba Mountains, I could not leave in good conscience. Also, as a lay missionary, I felt it was important to show the presence of the Church in this time of need—to show that the Church does not abandon her people when a crisis arises.”

Already internationally recognized as a dedicated humanitarian, Catena was previously named as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People and was featured in the film The Heart of Nuba, directed by Ken Carlson.  “Dr. Tom,” as he is known in Sudan, was born in Amsterdam, New York, and attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, graduating in 1986 and distinguishing himself at football; he was named an Associated Press honorable mention All-American football player and a first-team All-Ivy pick as a defensive lineman. He earned his medical degree in 1993 on a U.S. Navy scholarship at Duke University and began his missionary career during his fourth year there with a stay in Kenya. He returned to his missionary life after a residency in family medicine at Union Hospital in Terre Haute, Indiana.

More details may be found on https://cmmb.org/dr-tom-catena-wins-aurora-prize-for-awakening-humanity/

Acceptance remarks from Dr. Tom and from CMMB, President and CEO may be found on the livestream of the event at the 2:40:00 mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb9-S6kpDp4

Click here to read the full press release.