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Ehsan Hoque

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Founded  May 24, 2003
Name  Ehsan Hoque
Area served  Bangladesh, India
Location  Cheshire, CT
Type  NGO

Ehsan Hoque
Founder  Dr. Ehsan Hoque Dr. Brian Debroff
Mission  To defend child rights and provide for the basic needs of distressed children, giving them opportunities for education, healthcare and future economic possibilities

Tedxnewhaven javier hernandez ehsan hoque counting smiles in the wild

Dr. Ehsan Hoque (born March 13, 1964) is a medical doctor, social entrepreneur and child rights activist. He is the founder and honorary Executive Director of Distressed Children & Infants International, an international non-profit organization based in the United States that works with underprivileged children and their families to stop child labor, extend educational opportunities, and provide access to healthcare.


Ehsan hoque thesis defense decision

Early Life & Education

Dr. Hoque was born in Barisal, Bangladesh to Dr. A.N. Shamsul Hoque (a professor of political science and public administration at Duke University and at Rajshahi University) and Hasina Begum, in 1964. He was born with congenital cataracts, and by the age of five had undergone seven eye surgeries, which partially restored his vision. At the time cataract surgery was uncommon in Bangladesh. Despite his family and physician advising him against prolonged studying and suggested he not attend school due to his impaired vision, he persevered in his studies and by 1987 he had graduated from Rajshahi Medical College to become a medical doctor. He completed his Ph.D. in 1995 at Asahikawa Medical College (Japan) and his postdoctoral fellowship in 1997 at the University of Western Ontario (Canada).


Over the course of his career, Dr. Hoque has worked at numerous institutes around the world, including Rajshahi Medical College Hospital (Bangladesh), Dhaka Shishu Hospital (Bangladesh), Asahikawa Medical University (Japan), University of Western Ontario (Canada), University of Toronto (Canada), and Yale University School of Medicine (USA). His research has focused on cardiovascular pharmacology and physiology, concentrating on ischemic reperfusion injury of the heart, and neuroendocrinology with a focus on aging. Dr. Hoque has published his work in various scientific journals, and presented his findings at national and international conferences. He has also been the recipient of numerous academic honors, including a Monbusho Scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education, research awards from the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, the University of Toronto Research Fellowship, and the Hartford Foundation Fellowship. Dr. Hoque is now a dedicated activist for children's rights and serves as full-time Executive Director of the American non-profit organization Distressed Children & Infants International. He is also involved with eye research projects at Yale University with colleague Dr. Brian DeBroff and serves as Honorary Goodwill Ambassador and International Consultant for Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha, one of the largest non-governmental organizations in Bangladesh.

Major Scientific Achievements

In 1995 Dr. Ehsan Hoque discovered that Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC), a toxic substance which accumulates in the ischemic myocardium when applied exogenously, causes ischemia-like changes, suggesting that LPC is one of the important factors in producing ischemia-reperfusion derangements in terms of mechanical and metabolic functions. He also found that prevention of LPC accumulation can protect heart from ischemia/reperfusion injury.

In 1997 Dr. Ehsan Hoque was the first to demonstrate the potential protective effect of NHE (Na+-H+ Exchange) inhibition on Lysophosphatidylcholine (LPC) -induced cardiac injury.


As a young boy, Dr. Hoque was constantly bullied for wearing heavy eyeglasses and taking longer to do things due to poor vision. He cites this as a major source of his empathy for others who are disadvantaged through no fault of their own.

Living in Bangladesh, he was surrounded by people in poverty and developed a deep appreciation for his own life. In his words, "I feel so lucky that I had parents who could give me food, clean water, a bed to sleep in and treatment so I could see. If I was born into a poor family I would not be able to see the world today."

At a very young age he involved himself in charitable activities with several organizations. During high school he created a volunteer group and started to help underprivileged people, especially during natural disasters common to the country like cyclones and floods.

As a young physician, Dr. Hoque undertook his own voluntary projects in remote villages teaching women about prenatal nutrition and distributing vegetable seeds and vitamin tablets to prevent the vitamin deficiency that contributed to his own partial blindness.

During these trips he saw small children dropping out of school and being sent to work in factories or as maids to support their families. He saw many of these children abused and tortured by their employers.

In 1995, Dr. Hoque started supporting the education of 50 children to save them from child labor, and in the process realized a more systematic approach was necessary to help the many more children suffering the same fate in Bangladesh and elsewhere. This inspired him to form a non-governmental organization to prevent school dropouts on a large scale by providing comprehensive support through child sponsorship, creating a safety net and involving school authorities and the community in the process.

This dream was realized in 2003 when, together with his colleague at Yale University Dr. Brian DeBroff and his wife Dr. Nina Hoque, he founded Distressed Children & Infants International, or DCI. The organization's mission is to reduce the extreme poverty that contributes to child labor by providing quality education, family support, and access to healthcare with a focus on eliminating preventable blindness.

Dr. Hoque's vision of child sponsorship has manifested itself in DCI's Sun Child Sponsorship Program, which now supports over 1100 children in Bangladesh. DCI operates several other programs in Bangladesh that provide healthcare, vision care, and orphan support, and also provides support to partner organizations with similar missions in India, Nepal, and Nicaragua. These efforts have benefited thousands of children and their families while also providing opportunities for American youth to connect with less fortunate around the world through volunteerism: a central organizational concept to DCI that Dr. Hoque calls "children helping children".

Dr. Hoque believes that to help the thousands of distressed children around the world the many organizations working in this field should be united in one platform to exchange ideas and learn from each other's approach, successes and failures. This belief has manifested in the biennial Conference on Child Rights & Sight: an international conference hosted by DCI and Yale University to raise awareness about child rights, particularly with respect to child labor, and diseases that affect vision. The event gathers speakers and leaders from around the world to address these issues and discuss creative solutions. To date, DCI has held five international conferences at Yale University, in 2006, 2009, 2011, and 2013, and 2015. The 6th International Conference on Child Rights & Sight will take place at Yale on Saturday, October 14, 2017.


Dr. Hoque lives in Cheshire, Connecticut with his wife Dr. Nina Hoque and their two daughters Asahi and Sofia.

Social & Humanitarian Awards

  • Bangladesh Medical Association of North America (BMANA) California Chapter Humanitarian Award (2017)
  • ATN Bangla Television Humanitarian Award (2017)
  • Rajshahi Medical College Humanitarian Award (2016)
  • North America Bangladesh Convention (NABC) Award (2014)
  • Federation of Bangladeshi Associations in North America (FOBANA) Outstanding Community Service Award (2013)
  • Bangladesh Association of Phoenix Award (2012)
  • Cheshire Exchange Club Award (2011)
  • Bangladesh Unity Federation of Los Angeles (BUFLA) Charitable Service Award (2009)
  • Federation of Bangladeshi Associations of North America (FOBANA) Commitment Award for Charity (2008)
  • Bangladesh Association of Greater Kansas City Award (2007)
  • Federation of Bangladeshi Associations in North America (FOBANA) Award (2007)
  • Texas Chamber of Commerce Extraordinary Service Award for Deprived Children (2005)
  • Rajshahi University Best Volunteer and Community Leader Award (1975)
  • Academic Honors & Awards

  • Young Scientist Award: Hartford Foundation, USA (2003)
  • Research Fellowship Award: Hartford Foundation, USA (2002-2005)
  • Research Fellowship Award: Department of Internal Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada (2000-2002)
  • Best Presentation Award: XVIII Annual Meeting of the International Society for Heart Research, Chicago, Illinois, USA (1996)
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Heart & Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Canada (1995-1998)
  • Japanese Society of Medical Mycology Outstanding Researcher Award for oral presentation at the International Forum, Tokyo, Japan (1994)
  • Monbusho Scholarship: Government of Japan (1990-1995)
  • National Academic Merit Scholarship: Bangladesh Board of Education (1975-1987)
  • Scientific Publications

  • Plasma membrane calcium ATPase overexpression in arterial smooth muscle increases vasomotor responsiveness and blood pressure. Circ Res. 2003 Oct 3;93(7):614-21. Epub 2003 Aug 21.
  • Calcineurin-independent regulation of plasma membrane Ca2+ ATPase-4 in the vascular smooth muscle cell cycl e. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2003 Jul;285(1):C88-95. Epub 2003 Mar 26.
  • Differential regulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone secretion and gene expression by androgen: membrane versus nuclear receptor activation. Mol Endocrinol. 2002 Nov;16(11):2592-602.
  • Protective effect of amiloride against reperfusion damage as evidenced by inhibition of accumulation of free fatty acids in working rat hearts. Jpn Circ J. 1997 Dec;61(12):1021-9.
  • A rapid ischemia-induced apoptosis in isolated rat hearts and its attenuation by the sodium-hydrogen exchange inhibitor HOE 642 (cariporide). J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1997 Nov;29(11):3169-74.
  • Effect of sodium-hydrogen exchange inhibition on functional and metabolic impairment produced by oxidative stress in the isolated rat heart. Can J Physiol Pharmacol.[1] 1997 Apr;75(4):326-34.
  • Cardioprotective effect of K-7259, a novel dilazep derivative, against ischemia-reperfusion damage in isolated, working rat hearts. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;73(4):365-9.
  • A new approach to the development of anti-ischemic drugs. Substances that counteract the deleterious effect of lysophosphatidylcholine on the heart. Jpn Heart J. 1997 Jan;38(1):11-25.
  • Na(+)-H+ exchange inhibition protects against mechanical, ultrastructural, and biochemical impairment induced by low concentrations of lysophosphatidylcholine in isolated rat hearts. Circ Res. 1997 Jan;80(1):95-102.
  • K-7259, a novel dilazep derivative, and d-propranolol attenuate H2O2-induced cell damage. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1996 Apr;277(1):207-11.
  • A study on dilazep: I. Mechanism of anti-ischemic action of dilazep is not coronary vasodilation but decreased cardiac mechanical function in the isolated, working rat heart. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1995 Mar;67(3):225-32.
  • A study on dilazep: II. Dilazep attenuates lysophosphatidylcholine-induced mechanical and metabolic derangements in the isolated, working rat heart. Jpn J Pharmacol. 1995 Mar;67(3):233-41.
  • Protective effect of crataegus extract on the cardiac mechanical dysfunction in isolated perfused working rat heart. Arzneimittelforschung. 1993 Sep;43(9):945-9.
  • Cardioprotective effect of d-propranolol in ischemic-reperfused isolated rat hearts. Eur J Pharmacol. 1993 May 19;236(2):269-77.
  • Cardioprotective effect of pindolol in ischemic-reperfused isolated rat hearts.Eur J Pharmacol. 1992 Mar 24;213(2):171-81.
  • References

    Ehsan Hoque Wikipedia

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