This brilliant and compassionate man literally hides a world of expertise behind his unassuming manner. Our loss is certainly the gain of his next associates.
New York, NY (PRWEB) May 22, 2007
Hon. Jacob Eapen MD, MPH was awarded the "Ellis Island Medal of Honor" for his dedication and leadership qualities in community service. Dr. Eapen, along with other recipients from various heritage groups chosen by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations NECO, received this honor on May 12, 2007.
Each year, NECO awards the "Ellis Island Medal of Honor" to outstanding individuals who lead a lifestyle dedicated to community service, exhibit interests for the preservation of cultural groups and share and contribute through personal and professional achievements toward the overall benefit of society. The Ellis Island ceremony starts with an elegant and festive Welcome Cocktail Reception where all medalists meet one another. Following the ceremony, the Gala Dinner is held in the beautifully restored Great Hall on Ellis Island, capped by a stunning display of fireworks, which are presented by Grucci.
Dr Eapen completed his MBBS from Trivandrum Medical College in India in 1976 and pediatric training at Christian Medical College, Ludhiana, India. He left the security and familiarity of the country in which he was born and reached the shores of Africa, where he worked as the Director of the Pediatric Unit in Agha Khan Hospital in Dar-Es-Salaam, Tanzania in 1980. In Nigeria, he reached out in his practice which served undernourished children and their parents. In pursuit of his passion for spreading awareness, he accepted an offer to teach in Sub-Sahara, Nigeria, and Africa. While he was working at the Nigerian hospital, Dr. Eapen saw hundreds of children die from diseases brought on by malnutrition. Since then, he has dedicated his career to pediatric services for the underprivileged. He also mastered two native languages-- Swahili and Hausa. Eapen says, "At 15, when I started my pre-medicine education, it wasn't because of any passion for medicine but more due to the influences by my parents. My father was an engineer with the Kerala government services. We had many doctors in the family even going back two generations. Once I obtained my medical training, I practiced pediatrics in both Tanzania and Nigeria and that gave me a different perspective in health care."
In 1984, Dr. Eapen earned a master's degree in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. He completed a second residency in 1992 from Stanford University, which allowed him to practice in the United States. He was selected as one of 40 outstanding Stanford Medical Alumni from among 7000 graduates of the last 60 years to be profiled in a book commemorating 40 years of the Stanford Medical School in Palo Alto.
In 1988 Dr. Eapen was appointed Health Advisor by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (IJNHCR) to the Republic of the Philippines. He accepted this new challenge to cater to the needs of nearly 30,000 Indo-Chinese refugees at the Philippines Refugee Processing Center, Battan. Dr. Eapen had to reinvent himself in this new world meeting new challenges and coping with the stress of his work. He endeared himself to the refugees, created meaningful relationships with the staff and addressed himself to learning more and more. With his expertise and long standing experience, Dr. Eapen crafted a health proposal for the underserved Filipino indigent population that lived around camp at Morong, Battan. Mr. Herman T. Laurel, Administrator at the Refugee Processing Center wrote: "No other Medical advisor before him has figured as positively in Health Services group affairs, nor shown as much commitment to its mission, for which he has earned our respect and high esteem." Sylvia Bitler, the nursing coordinator of World Relief Council (WRC) paid him tribute as he was leaving the Philippines in the following words, "This brilliant and compassionate man literally hides a world of expertise behind his unassuming manner. Our loss is certainly the gain of his next associates."
In 1990 Dr Eapen was appointed Director for Research and Public Health Programs at International Health Services, Mountain View, California. The objective of this not-for- profit organization was the development of appropriate but low-cost diagnostic kits for use in developing countries. Dr. Eapen also conducted a USAID-supported clinical trial in India on a simple device to test for tuberculosis. While serving as the Director of International Affairs for Stop Aids Worldwide (SAW), Dr. Eapen met Mother Theresa in Calcutta, India, to promote the work of this organization in India.
Dr. Eapen has also brought his expertise in the health problems of children in developing countries to the doorsteps of many centers of learning. He has lectured on Primary Health care and Health Issues in a Refugee Camp, to students at Stanford and UCSF Medical schools as well as at the School of Public Health at Berkeley. Good medical practice comes in myriad forms, but good doctors share one trait: they are truly present in their clinics, deeply engaged with their patients and their area of specialization.
On January 30, 2004, Jacob Eapen was awarded the first Physician Recognition Award from the Medical Board of California. The California Medical Board, which licenses physicians throughout the state, created a Physician Recognition Task Force to begin an annual program to recognize physicians for outstanding service. He is also a recipient of the Congressional Record of Honor and the City of Newark Mayoral Commendation.
Dr. Eapen has been the commissioner of public health in Alameda County, California, for more than four years. Currently, he serves as Pediatrician for Alameda County Health Services where he reaches out to poor children in Oakland and Newark, and the juveniles in their detention center in San Leandro. California is fortunate to have the services of Dr. Eapen, taking into account the numerous uninsured and indigent people that populate the area. He served as an adviser to "Every Child Counts" Commission, Alameda County. He is an important speaker against the potential closure of clinics in Alameda County, because of costs. He was awarded the Spectacular Care Giver of 1999 by the Alameda County Health Services "in recognition of (his) outstanding patient service, consistently superior level of performance and reliable contributions to the team at Newark Health Center."
Dr. Eapen is currently serving as a board member of Washington Hospital in Fremont, California. He was one of the first Indo Americans ever to win a general election in Northern California. He is also a member of several California State boards: The Association of California Health Care Districts (ACHD) (representing about 44 district hospitals in California Governance Forum), The California Hospital Association (CHA) (representing more than 500 hospitals in California) and The Advisory Board of California Medical Association (CMA) Foundation. He is dedicated to improving access, removing both logistic and insurance barriers, expanding outreach services and reducing Emergency Room waiting time. Dr. Eapen is also pressing for better investment in preventive care through cost effective health programs. For him, minimizing disparities in community health care is an important priority. As a member of the board he envisions minimizing the disparities in immunization rates, incidence in obesity, diabetes and hypertension as well as increasing open communication and enhancing the image of the hospital as a patient friendly place. In addition to Dr. Jacob's outstanding performance, he is thankful for the support of his family. Tremendous appreciation goes to his family's understanding for his numerous commitments to his objectives and social engagements.
Dr. Eapen has devoted his medical expertise to the health problems of undernourished children in developing countries and to poor and disturbed juveniles in the United States. Time and again, he has demonstrated his commitment to the healing ministry and to improving public health for the underserved worldwide. In the words of Hon. Fortney Pete Stark, "he has embraced Public Health Services in an explicit attempt to foster more appropriate and effective policies to benefit poor, undeserved patients"
Because of his many achievements and his ability to touch individuals through his personal and professional achievements, Dr. Eapen has been honored at this year's ceremony at the historic Ellis Island in New York City. Dr. Eapen stated, "The US is a melting pot of immigrants where, everyday, people strive to achieve the American Dream. I have attained many reputed recognitions here, and then to be recognized by my adopted country as one of the outstanding citizens who have made positive contributions to the community is a very humbling experience and this, at the same time, makes me proud of my roots." Eapen has now joined the honored ranks of past recipients such as former American presidents--Bill Clinton, George Bush, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, and Gerald Ford as well as other famed individuals such as Frank Sinatra, Donald Trump, Lee Iacocca, and Barbara Walters, whose philanthropy has been an inspiration. To quote Jacob Eapen: "The world needs to advance in compassion."