As a child growing up in Ethiopia, Dr. Ermias Abebe was exposed to many healthcare disparities, which led him to study medicine. During the civil war that erupted in the 90s, he saw many limb injuries and devastating deformities/disabilities that came with some of those injuries. “Living through these experiences as a child, combined with my love for the show ‘The Bionic Woman,’ created my dream of being able to ‘fix and rebuild people,'” Dr. Abebe says. “As I got older, this dream ultimately led me to discover and pursue the field of orthopedics.”
Today, Dr. Abebe is an orthopedic surgeon at CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic, sub-specializing in foot and ankle surgery. “I have always loved working with my hands and fixing things. Each case, patient encounter, or surgery in my line of work requires compassion, thoughtfulness, and precision. I use my position, relationships, and expertise to help my patients receive the best possible outcome. Also, I have the best crew of nurses and an athletic trainer on my team, and together we work to provide excellent care to our community,” Dr. Abebe says. “Along the way, I also try to mentor and inspire young people to pursue my field.”
Dr. Abebe says that his best accomplishment is the life he has built with his wife, Dr. Loren Robinson, who is the Chief Medical Officer and Vice President for Medical Affairs at CHRISTUS St. Michael Hospital. The couple has two young sons. “One of my childhood goals was to marry my best friend and the woman of my dreams and then become a father, and that has come true,” Dr. Abebe says. “My wife inspires me. She works tirelessly to improve patient experience and hospital processes to ensure our hospital provides excellent and compassionate care. She also strives to improve the workplace for all healthcare workers so that they can deliver great care. My wife does all this while caring for her three boys and running our home. She makes it all look so easy; I pale in comparison.”
In addition to his family, Dr. Abebe is also very proud to fulfill his parents’ dreams and honor their sacrifices through his professional accomplishments. “As a parent myself, I appreciate that I cannot pay them for the lives they sacrificed to get me this far, but my plan, in the words of my favorite poet, is to show them that I understand,” Dr. Abebe says.
Dr. Abebe’s next goal is to stay fluent in his field’s current concepts, techniques, and literature to provide the best level of care as medicine evolves. “I think life expectancy will continue to improve, and we will need to develop new ways to provide service and care for the problems that come with living beyond our 80s and 90s,” Dr. Abebe says.
Dr. Abebe sees the practice of medicine as a very challenging career that requires a lifetime commitment to service and learning. “Healthcare workers often meet people at their most vulnerable, raw, and unfiltered time. Respecting these realities in order to summon our best humanity and keeping our minds focused on service daily for this task is a full-time mindset,” Dr. Abebe says. “I think this is what makes a career in medicine a true calling and unlike any other job.”
Dr. Abebe continues to be very touched by how much his patients care about his well-being. “Often, during their worst times, they are disproportionately focused on cheering my staff or me up and ensuring I am doing well. Although I cannot share what happened, I can share that I was touched by how generous and loving those patients are with acts of kindness. In those moments, most of us would be focused on our own situation, but my patients always stop to take care of me – the person whose job it is to provide the care,” Dr. Abebe says. “Those acts of kindness provide a good reminder of how special this job is.”
1. I am passionate about fainting goats and honey-do lists.
2. I am involved in the Texarkana community through my job, outreach, and building a formalized young male mentorship program with our local historically black fraternities.
3. My favorite place to eat in Texarkana is Fuji Kim’s, and I always order the Iron Man roll.
4. The best tip I know for staying healthy is to be able to laugh at yourself.
5. Most people don’t know I am an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. Also, aliens are real. The truth is out there.