Theodore MacKinney, MD, MPH, FACP

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Internal Medicine, Primary Care
4.8 (74)
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Offers Virtual Visits

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When Theodore MacKinney, MD '85, MPH, arrived in rural Nepal for the first time in 1993, the small village he would call home for six years experienced an average of one death per day. The statistics were easily tracked, as deaths were broadcast as the bodies were carried through the village on the way to the cremation site.

When he left, after building a 20-bed mission hospital where previously there was no health care outside of natural healers and medicine shops, that rate had dropped to fewer than one death per month. Built along an ancient trade route, Living River Health Services serves an area with half a million people and no other doctors. Since 2000, the hospital has been nationalized and run by local people, thanks to Dr. MacKinney's leadership.

Dr. MacKinney has spent the better part of his professional life living among the poor in Nepal with his wife, Rachel. His three children, now 16, 18 and 20, consider it home at least as much as the U.S. While not glamorous, this path has been rewarding and certainly significant to the many people he has helped.

"This was a career choice, or a life calling to find and serve people who are the most needy. It is also a spiritual calling for us. When I think about the difference we've made in people's lives, I think, 'that was really fun,'" said Dr. MacKinney, who periodically had returned for stints in the U.S. He has been stateside since 2005, serving as Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. He received a 2007 Humanitarian Award from the Alumni Association for his incredible dedication to the health of the Nepalese people.

Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, and Dr. MacKinney lived and cared for people in one of the poorest areas of Nepal. His family lived in a modified village house of stone and mud. Upon his initial arrival, he literally practiced medicine under a tree with the help of one nurse. Eventually, they adapted a home into a temporary clinic and started seeing 100 patients a day with a larger staff of U.S. expatriates and Nepalese.

Dr. MacKinney and his family faced the same survival struggles as the people he served. They were ill quite often – typhoid, dysentery, tuberculosis exposure – before their immune systems adapted. Additionally, a Maoist guerilla war that still rages today began the same year he arrived, and the conflict's epicenter was in the same district as the mission hospital.

His goal was to provide as much care as he could to as many people as he could, Dr. MacKinney said, and this often required learning some skills, such as surgery, on the spot. For one woman, he repaired an open dislocation of the knee and then created a splint from PVC pipe left over from the hospital's construction. For a man who entered the hospital paralyzed from cobra venom, Dr. MacKinney consulted a book, administered anti-venom, and six hours later, the man walked out. The villagers had never seen anyone survive that before.

"One of the joys we had was seeing cases that the villagers thought were hopeless," he said. "That guy probably had five minutes to live. We did it with common sense, a little bit of equipment and a little bit of medicine."

In addition to building the hospital, Dr. MacKinney was field director for two rural Nepal hospitals and oversaw their nationalization between 2000 and 2004. From Kathmandu, he oversaw 12 mission hospitals and helped develop clinical and educational models for all of Nepal.



Treatment & Services

International Health
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Hospital Affiliations

Froedtert Hospital


Internal Medicine - Froedtert Hospital Specialty Clinics
8850 William Coffey Dr.
Milwaukee, WI 53226
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Education & Training

Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center - Baltimore - MD - Residency in Internal Medicine - (1985-1988)

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine - Baltimore - MD - MPH - (1988)

Medical College of Wisconsin - Milwaukee - Doctor of Medicine - (1985)

Board Certifications

Internal Medicine

Patient Reviews

The comments are submitted by patients (or their caregivers) and reflect their views and opinions. The comments are not endorsed by and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network. Learn more about our survey.

4.8 out of 5. 74 ratings, 23 reviews
Aug. 29, 2020
Dr. MacKinney is an excellent listener. He asks questions. I am becoming more and more comfortable with him. He's smart and sensitve to my care and I know this without doubt. I've always seen a woman physican in my past. He's somewhat new as my physician. I am very comfortable with him and his bedside manner is excellent. I feel he really and genuinely cares about me and my health, including my mental health. Very important to me. He's real and I like him very much.
Aug. 6, 2020
overall excellent experience and Dr. MacKinney took adequate time to ensure all my health needs were addressed.
Aug. 3, 2020
the provider and staff were all friendly and competent. I am very satisfied.
July 24, 2020
This was my 1st appointment Dr MacKinney and I was very impressed. He took the time to go over my medical records and come up with a plan moving forward. He explained test results from my liver injury and detailed items we need to follow up on. I came away from our meeting feeling like this doctor really cares about my well being and has setup a great plan for me moving forward.
July 20, 2020
Excellent bedside manner, conscious teacher, med student professional, thorough and detailed. The physician spent quality time, excellent care and treatment plan. I felt safe with Dr. MacKinney
June 22, 2020
listened intently, knowledgeable, responsive, proactive.
June 18, 2020
He listens.
June 17, 2020
Dr. Mackinney was awesome, he was very present in the moment, and had genuine concerns for my needs. I feel fortunate to have found such an amazing primary care physician!
June 12, 2020
Dr McKinney is personable, caring about your overall health, and will take the time to explain the myriad of questions we always have. he is not in a hurry to leave, although the hour is late. we feel he genuinely cares about my health. thank you for hiring a man who is exceptional, kind and considerate
June 12, 2020
Provider was very kind and knowledgeable. This was my first time meeting with him, he exceeded my expectations.
May 30, 2020
Unusually attentive; perceptive; sensitive to patient feedback; able to listen and respond; discerning ; adaptable; concerned to hear the patient and respond; not pushy; unusual ability to think through problem at hand and offer various options for medical care; respects feedback of patient; courteous; kind
March 11, 2020
He went extensively into cause and effect.
Feb. 28, 2020
Dr. MacKinney is the finest doctor I have ever worked with.
Feb. 18, 2020
Dr looked over my information the day before which was awesome
Feb. 7, 2020
Listens carefully to complications which need serious consideration. Discerning, careful and perceptive with decisions. Prepared to shift decisions if complications arise. Wants to reach truly well discerned decisions. Sensitive to patients reactions and questions.
Feb. 6, 2020
this was a new patient visit. so first time I met with the doctor. he was excellent
Jan. 29, 2020
took care of my problem very satisfied
Dec. 18, 2019
His open mindedness.
Dec. 7, 2019
I feel very confident in my relationship with Dr MacKinney - he is thorough and comforting, so much so that my niece and her husband have been so confident in him that they have asked him to be their Doctor and he has accepted them as patients.
Nov. 16, 2019
attentive, knowledgeable, and not rushed.
Nov. 7, 2019
I am giving Dr. Mckinney his staff a 10. Dr. Mckinney is an excellent doctor. I couldn't have for more caring doctor than him. He shows how much he cares for you. And he provides great care, excellence bed side manners!!
Nov. 6, 2019
I was surprised how thorough Dr. MacKenney is. I came in just to get a pre operation release letter. He ordered blood work, etc, although I had these tests done within the last 3 months. That tells me Dr. MacKenney wants to ensure everything is a go for my hyper parathroid surgery.
Sept. 25, 2019
The Doctor did an exceptional job explaining my condition, though very serious his presentation of the facts didn't upset me. Since being his patient I trust his medical expertise.
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