The Frist Humanitarian Awards: Physicians
Physicians Recipients: Drs. Peter and Kathy Sarantos, North Florida Regional Medical Center, Gainesville, FL
This year marks the first time the Frist Humanitarian Award has been given to two people in the Physician category. But spend some time learning about husband- and-wife doctors Peter and Kathy Sarantos, and it’s easy to see why both are being honored.
First of all, there are the medical accomplishments. Both Dr. Peter Sarantos, a surgeon, and Dr. Kathy Sarantos, a pediatrician, have been honored many times for their outstanding patient care, and both are valued members of the medical community at North Florida Regional Medical Center.
Then there’s the work they do outside hospital walls, both in the local community and across the world. Since 2011, both doctors have been involved with World Help, a humanitarian organization that works in impoverished communities worldwide. The Drs. Sarantos and their family have focused their time and attention on the village of El Astillero, Guatemala, where they have provided medical care, water, food, a school and church building.
They also were the driving force behind “Run the Good Race,” a 5/10K race held in Gainesville to raise money for Middle East refugees. It’s just another way to reach out to those less fortunate, and to bring attention to those who are suffering.
“They are skilled, dedicated and respected doctors, but they are also always looking to better the world and help people outside the hospital walls as well as inside,” says Brian Cook, chief executive officer.
The Drs. Sarantos say that their goal is simple: change lives for the better, and leave behind meaningful works.
“We have been given opportunities to do things that will outlive us and last for eternity,” Dr. Kathy Sarantos says. “Giving back is so easy for us. So whether it’s a soup kitchen in Gainesville or a small village in Guatemala, we want to try to leave this world a little bit better than when we came.”
“We really don’t feel worthy,” added Dr. Peter Sarantos of the Frist Award. “This is just what we do, and to be honored for it is such a privilege. We are humbled, and grateful to HCA Healthcare for valuing humanitarian needs and values. Our prayer each day is for protection and guidance for our family, for the Lord to give us the stamina for what he wants us to do and to continue to grow in us a servant’s heart.”
Physician Finalist: Dr. Rene Loyola, St. Lucie Medical Center, Port St. Lucie, FL
The hands-on approach of Dr. Rene Loyola is evident in everything he does. From sitting at the end of a patient’s bed to explain what’s happening, to mentoring nurses and other clinicians, his warm and compassionate touch is legendary at St. Lucie Medical Center.
His desire to teach reaches far beyond the hospital walls. Dr. Loyola is on faculty at the Florida State University College of Medicine, and he volunteers for the Graduate Medical Education programs at the hospital. He also has participated in multiple overseas mission trips.
Last but not least, Dr. Loyola finds the time to demonstrate his musical talents, playing in local band Relapse. The all-doc group plays many charity events, at one point raising more than $5,000 during a “Battle of the Bands” for a local healthcare clinic.
“Even with all these stories of the contributions that Dr. Loyola makes for his fellow man, the part that really stands out for me is the mentoring that he does for young people con- templating a medical profession,” says Nancy Hilton, chief nursing officer. Hilton can speak from experience: Dr. Loyola mentored her son, who is a fourth-year ENT resident. He also gave advice to her daughter, and then performed surgery on her for a ruptured appendix. She then decided to pursue a career in medicine.
“Dr. Loyola is a skilled medical practitioner who shares his knowledge without hesitation,” says Melissa Cox, interim ICU director. “He is a living embodiment of the humanitarianism and philanthropy which Dr. Thomas Frist Sr. held to his heart.”
Physician Finalist: Dr. Katharina Lilly, Portsmouth Regional Hospital, Portsmouth, NH
When it comes to community involvement, Dr. Katharina Lilly doesn’t play favorites. When she sees a need, she tackles it, whether it’s library lectures on heathy lifestyles or creating a walking group that meets every Saturday.
“She partnered with Portsmouth Regional Hospital to be the face of the No Need to Be Scared Program, which travels to local schools educating children about their visits to the doctor,” says Dean Carucci, chief executive officer, noting that through play with teddy bears she was able to help children overcome their fears.
Other community engagements include Camp Hole In The Wall, a retreat for seriously ill children, as well as a local giving circle, healthcare- GIVES. This group is made up of local physicians to discuss relevant health-care concerns in the community, followed by pooling funds and donating them as they see necessary. In its first year, more than 130 physicians donated more than $33,000 to Child and Family Services New Hampshire, which funded a street-based clinician to deliver mobile mental health care to at-risk and homeless teens.
She also serves as team physician for the University of New Hampshire’s Division I women’s gymnastics team, where she once was a team member.
“Dr. Lilly’s efforts go above and beyond volunteer work,” Carucci says. “Her commitment to excellence and the values she shares are a true example for others. And she shares this gift with her family, ensuring our world will have more generosity in the future and an appreciation for giving back to the community.”
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