Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Dr. Guerrero of Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Receives 2012 Presidential Award
Recognized by President of Philippines at Presidential Palace
Chicago, Ill. – December 21, 2012 – His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino, III, President of the Philippines, presented Christopher M. Guerrero, MD, family physician, Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC), with the Lingkod sa Kapwa Pilipino Award on Dec. 5 at the Presidential Palace in Manila. The award is given to an individual or association for "exceptional or significant contribution to reconstruction, progress and development in the Philippines."
The President recognized Dr. Guerrero for organizing and participating in 20 medical mission trips to the Philippines, in which they provide basic care to residents. The 21st trip is scheduled for February 2013. Each year, he takes a team of health care professionals from PSMEMC to the province of Nueva Vizcaya, about eight hours from Manila. The President also recognized the family physician for teaching a class at a local university in the Philippines during these trips and serving as an instructor for an online university course.
"It was quite an exciting experience," said Dr. Guerrero, who moved to the United States from the Philippines with his family in 1978. "I was deeply humbled and honored to be acknowledged. Never in my dreams did I think I would personally meet the president. He told me to please continue with what I am doing."
At the ceremony, Dr. Guerrero was one of 29 individuals from 14 countries who were recognized with the Presidential Awards for Filipino Individuals and Organizations Overseas. This year, there were 138 nominees and 29 recipients. Presented biennially, the awards recognize Filipinos and other individuals/organization that contribute to Philippine development and programs, or promote the interests of overseas Filipino communities. Dr. Guerrero was nominated by his friend, David Ramsey, M.D., a physician at Harvard Medical School.
In practice for 30 years and on the medical staff since 1982, Dr. Guerrero was notified in November he would receive the award. He traveled to the ceremonies with his brother, Abraham Guerrero of Winnipeg, Canada, and two friends. On Dec. 3, a pre-awards dinner was held at the Palace and recipients had five minutes to talk about their projects.
Dr. Guerrero said his work with the "poorest of the poor" is a task too overwhelming for most to assume. "However, I accepted the challenge and in doing so, I inspire future generations to undertake it," he said. "To love beyond reason, to fight beyond endurance and to hope beyond despair – this is my life. I have the vision in my hands and the cause within my heart. The vision involves sacrifice and the cause involves ultimate sacrifice – even to the last breath of my life."
His Excellency Benigno S. Aquino, III, President of the Philippines (center) presents the 2012 Presidential Award to Dr. Christopher Guerrero (right) as Albert Del Rosario, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, watches on stage.
About Presence Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center (PSMEMC)
PSMEMC is a premier medical center on Chicago's near northwest side and includes the: Saint Mary Campus, 2233 W. Division St., and Saint Elizabeth Campus, 1431 N. Claremont Ave. The Saint Mary Campus is certified as a Primary Stroke Center and accredited as a Chest Pain Center. The hospital specializes in cardiac care, digestive diseases, emergency services, neuroscience services, obstetrics, primary care, behavioral health and wound healing. PSMEMC ranks No. 19 in the 2012-13 U.S. News & World Report's "Best Hospitals" in the Chicago metro area. PSMEMC offers comprehensive diabetes care and education for inpatients and outpatients. Click here for information the medical center's diabetes services. Visit our website at smemc.reshealth.org.
About Provena Health – Resurrection Health Care, Now Joined as Presence Health
PSMEMC is part of Presence Health, a family of Catholic, not-for profit, healthcare services providing advanced medical care and exceptional service with compassion and hope. With locations in Chicago and its collar counties, as well as in East-Central Illinois, it is the largest Catholic health provider in Illinois, encompassing 12 hospitals, 27 long term care and senior residential facilities, numerous outpatient services, clinics, home health services, hospice, private duty, and comprehensive Behavioral Health services. Presence Health is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary, the Sisters of the Holy Family, Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and the Sisters of the Resurrection. Visit www.provenaresurrection.org to learn more.