Dr. Francisca Tolete Velcek, Castle Connolly America Top Doctor and PH Presidential Pamana ng Pilipino Awardee

IF YOU search for the name of Dr. Francisca Tolete Velcek on the Internet, one of the most impressive things you will find is an icon of Castle Connolly.

In the medical world, to be on the Top Doctor List of Castle Connolly is like winning in the Oscars.

A proud Ilocana and pediatric surgeon, Dr.Francisca Tolete Velcek has been consistently rated by Connolly to be in the top 1 percent of America’s Top Doctor List — making her a well-respected doctor around the world.

Recently awarded by President Aquino as one of the 2012 Presidential Pamana ng Pilipino Awardees, Dr. Velcek is the Chief of Pediatric Surgery and a Clinical Professor of Surgery and Pediatrics at the University Hospital in Brooklyn at Long Island College Hospital in New York.

She is also a Professor of Surgery at the State University of New York — the largest comprehensive university system in the United States with more than 467,000 students.

Dr. Velcek is also President of the Board of Trustees of the Women’s Health Care Foundation and the Chairperson of the National Ethics Committee, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development.

Born and raised in Ilocos Sur, Philippines, Dr. Francisca Agatep Tolete Velcek took up medicine in the University of the Philippines (UP), graduating in 1966.

She then had her internship and residency training at New York’s St. Clare’s Hospital and Health Center, and finished her pediatric surgery fellowship training at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in 1975.

She married a fellow doctor in New York, Dr. Damir Velcek, a urologist, who died in 2008.

Awards and achievements

Her over 40 years as a medical doctor,surgeon, professor and scholar have made Dr. Velcek earn the admiration of her peers and patients.

Among her many awards include the Warren Wetzel Award for Excellence in Teaching from SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the Sergio Award from Healing The Children Foundation, and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the UP Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA).

Dr. Velcek has published 44 scientific articles in international peer-reviewed medical and surgical journals.

She has delivered 155 lectures in national and international meetings.

As chair of the medical missions committee of UP Medical Society in America (UPMASA), she has led medical-surgical missions to various areas of her homeland. She has also participated in multiple medical missions in Eastern Europe and South America.

Having earned the recognition by Castle Connolly as one of AMerica’s Top Doctors, Dr. Velcek is described as “one of the top medical specialists throughout the US and also in New York Metro Area who possess a high level of medical skill and expertise.”

Doctors included in Castle Connolly’s top doctor lists are selected after peer nomination, extensive research and careful review and screening.

Dr. Velcek has earned the distinction of being in the list of Castle Connolly America’s Top Doctors (2002 – 2012),Castle Connolly Top Doctors: New York Metro Area (1999-2012), Patients’Choice Award (2010-2012), and the Compassionate Doctor Recognition (2010-2011).

But it’s not only her peers who admire Dr. Velcek, she has also gained the trust and respect of her countless patients. Her overall average patient rating, according to the web is “Excellent” (4 out of 4 stars), the highest a doctor could have.

Rightly deserving of the presidential award, Dr. Velcek was cited by President Aquino for her outstanding achievements as a doctor of medicine and academician in the field of pediatric surgery in the United States of America. The President said that our country is blessed with talents, and ‘whether homegrown or raised abroad, the people in our presence today have become true ambassadors of the Filipino people.’

Dr. Velcek was the first female pediatric surgeon admitted at St. Clare’s Hospital in New York City and for 15 years, was voted as one of the top surgeons in New York and one of the best doctors in US Northeast Region.

Giving back

Despite her success, Dr. Velcek never forgets to give back to her homeland.

Aside from going on regular medical missions to the Philippines, she likewise maintains a student scholarship fund in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine.

LA Weekend March 2-5, 2013 Sec. A pg.10)

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