Dr. Cheatham is a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and also serves on the UCLA Neurosurgery Advisory Board. He is a past President of the California State Neurosurgical Society and past President of the Western Neurosurgical Society, organizations of the top neurosurgeons in the U.S. and Canada. In 1995, he received the prestigious American Association of Neurological Surgeons Humanitarian Award, and in 2001, World Medical Mission honored him with “The Footsteps of the Great Physician” award for missionary service. He is a member of the Boards of Directors of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and of Samaritan’s
Purse, an international humanitarian assistance organization in which he serves as a Special Assistant to the President with special reference to North Korea, a country he has visited twenty-seven times bringing help to people in need of medical, dental and other humanitarian assistance. In this regard he meets periodically with North Korean Ambassadors to the United Nations, and is also in communication with U.S. government officials.
Dr. Cheatham is co-editor of a best-selling surgical textbook which has had worldwide distribution. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of Surgical Neurology International, a leading surgical journal for which he writes editorials on Physician Volunteerism in developing countries and places of great need. He is currently developing a Neurosurgical Education Series by satellite transmission for doctors in developing countries. Because of Dr. Cheatham’s worldwide volunteer work, Whitworth University bestowed upon him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
Since retiring from his neurosurgical practice, Dr. Cheatham and his wife Sylvia have devoted their full energies to medical relief work in developing countries and places where wars are being fought. They have done medical mission work in countries including Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, Rwanda, The Congo, Sudan, South Korea, Bosnia, Kosovo, Former Soviet Union, and North Korea. Dr. Cheatham is the author of four books each focusing upon “giving one’s life away, through service to others.”
In 2014 he was awarded an Ellis Island Medal of Honor, which is given each year by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations to one-hundred honorees selected from the thousands of people nominated from across America. The award is intended to recognize and honor individuals who through the living of their lives “exemplify outstanding qualities in both their personal and professional lives, while continuing to preserve the richness of their particular heritage.” The individuals chosen as recipients of this high-award represent the diversity and pluralism of the immigrant experience and include six U.S. Presidents, one foreign President, Nobel Prize laureates and leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government.