Called “Dr. Hope” by many of her patients and students, Hope Ferdowsian grew up on a small farm and knew as a child she wanted to become a doctor soon after she learned about human rights violations around the world. From the time she was a child, she became concerned about the treatment of other children in the US and around the globe. Like many children who grow up around animals, she also grappled with the unjust treatment of animals in society. By the time she entered medical school, she began to seriously consider the links between individual and institutional violence against vulnerable people (including children) and animals, and what we can do to prevent different forms of violence.
Today, Hope is president and CEO of Phoenix Zones Initiative, a nonprofit organization that advances social and environmental justice. Over two decades, as a double-board certified internal medicine and preventive medicine physician, Hope has cared for individuals who have experienced homelessness, displacement, torture, and sexual violence, while she has also worked with others to end structural inequities, abuse, and exploitation. Her work across six continents has included collaboration with the Office of the Surgeon General of the United States and the development of medical, public health, ethics, and educational resources for nongovernmental organizations, national governments, and intergovernmental organizations such as the World Health Organization. She has also served as an invited expert in preparations for the United Nations High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development. Hope has appeared on local, national, and international radio and television programs, and in 2017 she was named a Humanitarian of the Year in the American College of Physicians.
Many of Hope’s publications focus on the prevention of and response to interpersonal and institutional violence, including important links between the rights, health, and wellbeing of people and animals. Her book Phoenix Zones: Where Strength Is Born and Resilience Lives, which depicts foundations for individual and societal resilience, was published in 2018 by the University of Chicago Press. In 2019, she co-founded Phoenix Zones Initiative with her partner to translate insights in the book into a movement for systemic change.
Hope received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and bioethics from the University of Southern California, a Doctor of Medicine degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, and a Master’s Degree in public health, with an emphasis in community medicine, from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. She completed an internship in internal medicine at Yale University-Griffin Hospital, a residency in general preventive medicine and public health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and an internal medicine residency at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Hope served as an assistant professor at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and an associate professor at Georgetown University School of Medicine, and she now serves as an associate professor at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine.
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