Bobby and Barbara Griffin at the Dodoma Medical Center

Meet Bobby and Barbara Griffin, Residents of Trillium Woods, and Founders of Dodoma Medical Center

Bobby and Barbara Griffin, residents of Trillium Woods, have become known humanitarians in their community. Their work in Tanzania, Africa has made a huge impact on countless people, and they continue to serve even as they have transitioned into retirement.

The pair met on December 5th, 1955, at a dance hosted by their alma mater, Willamette University. One of their mutual friends had encouraged the two to meet one another, enticing Barbara by joking “He’s not bad looking.” Married just four years later, on Valentine’s Day 1959, their lives together were only beginning.

Fast forward years later, Bobby having recently retired as the Executive Vice President of Medtronic and Barbara retired from nursing, were approached by friends who introduced them to a bishop from Tanzania. They asked the Griffins if they would be willing to sponsor the daughter of the bishop, as she wanted to come to America to study at a university. Understanding the importance of educating women from developing nations, they accepted with no hesitation. The young woman came to live with them, where she attended St. Olaf’s College and later went on to receive her Master’s in Sustainable Economics at Brandeis University.

This experience led the Griffins to start visiting Tanzania more frequently for mission trips and it was in 2003, that they co-founded Dodoma Christian Medical Center (DCMC). “We dreamt of a sustainable healthcare facility, a hospital that would be run by local Tanzanians because we knew that the talent would be available, they just needed someone to empower them.”

Aerial view of Dodoma Medical Center

DCMC launched with a focus on providing community health in rural villages. Today, it is a thriving 50-bed medical center with almost 120 employees. Whether it is safe childbirth and surgeries or dental care and comprehensive family medicine, they have become the facility of choice for reliable, high-quality healthcare in Central Tanzania.

Some impressive stats on DCMC:

    • 1. 84,854 patients served annually


    • 2. 107 babies born each month


    • 3. 125,000 people reached through community health outreach


    4. 560 dental patients are examined monthly

Bobby spent his career as a scientist specializing in physics and public health. Barbara studied nursing with a specialty in psychology. During Bobby’s career, he developed a product that Medtronic came to acquire. Medtronic hired Bobby and brought the Griffins to Minneapolis in 1973, where the pair made a home and raised their three children. Bobby and Barbara are the proud grandparents of nine and great-grandparents of four. All close to the MN area, they decided that as they settled into their retirement years, they would like to stay close to their large family.

Exterior of the front of Dodoma Medical Center

After decades of work in the health field and public service, the Griffins realized it was time for them to make the transition into retirement. It was quite easy for them to choose Trillium Woods, as it offered them access to volunteer and committee work, while also providing them peace of mind from the everyday stresses of homeownership. With plans to visit Tanzania one more time, the Griffins can look forward to having a relaxing place to call home once they return from their whirlwind adventures. Bobby remarked “There is no disconnect with what they promise the residents. The people here are always there for you and you will always be well taken care of.”

Bobby and Barbara Griffin, residents of Trillium Woods, with their children and grandchildren, posing together for a photo.

Who would have thought that 67 years later, what started as a blind date would eventually turn into a cross-continental love story for the ages.

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Or call (763) 744-9400