The UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health (DFMCH) honors the January 23, 2018, passing of Rudolph “Rudy” Hecht, MD, one of its original teaching faculty and the first medical director of the Northeast Family Medical Center.
Born in Hamburg, Germany, Dr. Hecht left the country at the age of six with his family to escape the Nazis. They ultimately landed in Mexico City, where he completed college and medical school at the National University of Mexico. Dr. Hecht then went on to complete residency at Denver General Hospital.
In 1958, Dr. Hecht began practice as a general practitioner and surgeon in a small town in Texas. In 1973, the family moved to Madison, where he joined the DFMCH, teaching residents and caring for patients at the Northeast Family Medical Center.
A Legacy of Teaching and Service
Dr. Hecht’s legacy lives on through the residents he taught.
“I know that I am the type of family physician I am today because of my training under Rudy Hecht at Northeast Family Medical Center,” reflects Neil Bard, MD, a 1980 alumnus of the DFMCH’s Madison residency program who practices and precepts in Richland Center, Wisconsin. “His picture has been in my office…and every rural rotation family practice resident in Richland Center is introduced to my clinic director.”
“I always said that if found myself on a desert island with a lot of sick people to care for, Rudy would be the guy I would want by my side!” says Calvin Bruce, MD, a 1978 alum who retired in 2014.
In addition to his work at UW, from 1973 to 2016, Dr. Hecht was the Honorary Consul for Mexico to Madison and Dane County. He made many volunteer medical trips throughout his career, including one in 1990 to Iraq to donate medical supplies for the Children’s Hospital in Baghdad.
Dr. Hecht has donated his body to the UW body donor program to further the education of future doctors.
In his spirit, donations can also be made to the UW Department of Family Medicine and Community Health’s Visionaries Fund.
A celebration of Dr. Hecht’s life will be held at Olbrich Botanical Gardens on Saturday, April 7, 2018, from 6 pm to 9 pm.
Published: February 2018