Theodore MacKinney, MD, MPH, FACP

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Internal Medicine, Primary Care
4.8 (83)
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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

Ages Seen


Languages Spoken


Hospital Affiliations

Froedtert Hospital


Internal Medicine - Froedtert Hospital Specialty Clinics
9200 West Wisconsin Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53226
(414) 805-6850
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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. 83 ratings, 26 reviews
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.
Sept. 20, 2019
I think Dr MacKinney may be the best physician I have had in my entire life. I say that because he is an excellent diagnostician and does a lot of patient teaching. He was working with a medical student and that was great, because as he taught the medical student, I was learning as well. I learned things about myself, no one had ever told me before, and he discovered things about my health that no one had discovered before. I am thrilled to be his patient!
Sept. 15, 2019
He took the time to listen to my concerns.
Aug. 31, 2019
professionally caring
Aug. 24, 2019
this was my first meeting with the Doctor . I was amazed at the time he spent with me. he was very thorough in asking questions and checking me over. i felt very comfortable on a first visit . he already set me up for next appt. and said we would continue discussing items of concern to both of us. very impressed the entire appt. and him especially.
Aug. 22, 2019
I'm very impressed with Dr. McKinney. He is always one step ahead of any issues for now and future wellness.
Aug. 7, 2019
He's a good talker and an even better listener.
Aug. 4, 2019
Dr. Mackinney spent as much time as I felt I needed to go over my health issues and answered all my questions in a very friendly, knowledgeable and professional manner. He took the time to get to know me and seemed genuinely interested in my health and health care. I went with Dr. Mackinney because I was not happy with my previous PCP at Froedtert. It seems I hit a home run with Dr. Mackinney and look forward to working with him in the future.
July 20, 2019
he was genuinely interested in my health and knowledgeable of my health issues. he is respectful and cordial: a great "doc."
June 30, 2019
Dr. McKinney is absolute a terrific doctor. He answered all of my questions, provided useful information on my health issues, gave me a very good insight on the process of certain medical procedures what to expect for a follow-up with another doctor, and he never rushed me. I felt Dr. McKinney is concerned, as much as I am, about my health. Froedtert Medical is lucky to have such a professional and caring doctor.
June 28, 2019
as always he did not hurry and listened and responded relevantly to every point
June 6, 2019
Great doctor. Hard to get an appointment
May 22, 2019
He was extremely knowledgeable about wound care. very good at explaining, thorough, excellent "bedside manner" asked if I had any questions. An extremely pleasant doctor. and the person who assisted him was also good.
May 21, 2019
bright, obviously interested in his patients' problem, innovative, and fun ( even tho he had to use an 18 ga needle).
May 20, 2019
Dr.Mackinney has always been very attentive to my health.
May 17, 2019
The doctor confuses me.
May 13, 2019
Dr. Mackinney shows interest in my physical & mental condition.
May 7, 2019
None at all, he was very good with me, he explained everything that I asked him. So yes that influenced me.
March 18, 2019
he is an outstanding physician who marries the science and art of medicine into his practice and patient care.
March 18, 2019
Every one treats me nice.