High Honor for Hispanic Physician

High Honor for Hispanic Physician

Dr. Richard Izquierdo to Receive the Surgeon General’s Medallion



ADVISORY for Tuesday, January 23


11:00 AM

Tuesday, January 23


Urban Health Plan

1065 Southern Boulevard

Bronx, NY

Much to the delight of the U.S. Latin community, Dr. Richard Izquierdo will soon be awarded the Surgeon General’s Medallion by the 17th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona. Dr. Carmona is president of the Canyon Ranch Institute, a nonprofit organization focused on health, and vice president of Canyon Ranch. Dr. Carmona will present the award to his colleague, Dr. Izquierdo, in a ceremony to be held Tuesday, January 23, at 11:00 a.m. in the lobby of Urban Health Plan’s headquarters, located at 1065 Southern Boulevard in the Bronx.

A person of Latin origin has achieved the highest honor granted by the United States Department of Health and Human Services for his work as a physician and scientist.

Dr. Izquierdo was Dr. Carmona’s pediatrician in the Bronx, and has been his mentor since childhood. Before leaving office as the Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona came to the decision that Dr. Izquierdo’s contributions to the nation, and particularly to the Latin community, qualified him for the Surgeon General’s Medallion.

There is no greater honor for those who devote their lives to health than this award, whereby the 17th U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Richard Carmona, recognizes the extraordinary qualities and vocation for service of one specific individual.

Dr. Richard Izquierdo will receive this prestigious recognition due to his career of more than three decades serving low-income communities in the Bronx, especially the Hispanic community. Over thirty years ago, he created Urban Health Plan, a foundation whose mission was to render free or low-cost health services to patients in need.

Born in 1929 to Puerto Rican parents in East Harlem, Richard Izquierdo—affectionately known as “Doc”—expressed his desire to be a doctor at the tender age of five. Since 1957, when he graduated from Lausanne Medical School in Switzerland, he has been as much a social activist as a physician. Richard Izquierdo knew the needs of his people and has worked hard to meet them since the opening of his first clinic in 1962 in the South Bronx, just two blocks from his home.

But his work did not stop there. Over the years he became one of the social activists who fought hardest for his community, and his work has led to collaborations with many institutions, including the New York City Community Planning Board. In 1967, he built his first clinic, called the San Juan Health Center, in honor of his homeland, Puerto Rico, and this step heralded the beginning of his greatest work: the Urban Health Plan.

This institution, founded in 1974 by Dr. Izquierdo, serves low-income communities in the Bronx, for whom “Doc” has always fought tirelessly. As a pediatrician and family practitioner, for him, medicine is more than a profession—it is the service vocation for which he is being recognized today. But most importantly, he continues helping the communities that need him most.

Many Urban Health Plan bilingual health centers operate in the Bronx area, such as El Nuevo San Juan, the Bella Vista, and the Plaza del Castillo Health Centers, where patients can receive anything from medical attention for the whole family to prenatal care and even dental care.

In addition, Urban Health Plan’s services are not limited strictly to medical care. It organizes workshops, lectures and events where the community can learn about healthcare. It also publishes documents to inform the community about diabetes, dental care for children, and counting calories. Patients can access free scientific information in layman’s terms at http://www.urbanhealthplan.org, or by visiting any of the clinics in person.

NOTE TO EDITORS: A high-resolution image is available at: http://www.hispanicprwire.com/home.php?l=in

High Honor for Hispanic Physician