Calvert Memorial Hospital recognized longtime local physicians Dr. Richard Cirillo and Dr. David Denekas at its annual awards dinner on April 10 for their outstanding leadership and exceptional service to the community. The Partners in Care Award went to the breast imaging team from Johns Hopkins Medicine for its invaluable support of the Sheldon E. Goldberg Center for Breast Care at CMH.
Additionally, a special tribute was presented in honor of the late Dr. Rafik Aboul-Nasr for his selfless dedication to the residents of Calvert County for nearly 25 years. Nasr, who passed away unexpectedly on Dec. 21, is best remembered as a great champion of autistic children.
“He was a tremendous physician who contributed to our community in countless ways and his loss is felt here every day,” said Kevin Nietmann, chairman, CMH board of directors.
Nietmann went on to talk about the complexity of today’s healthcare system and the integral role that physicians play in all aspects of it – from delivering care at the bedside to learning how to navigate new computer software to advocating for technology and change that will improve patient outcomes and everything in between.
“The knowledge, skill and attention to detail that is required of a physician today is beyond what most of us can comprehend,” he said, “and yet, we watch you all deliver care each and every day with apparent ease – never daunted by the challenges – instead working with unwavering dedication to the needs of your patients and for that we owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.”
CMH President and CEO Dean Teague commended the physicians for their part in helping Calvert Memorial garner national recognition in 2014 for patient safety and quality care – including being rated a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, receiving the Delmarva Excellence Award for the sixth time and the Gold Plus Award for outstanding stroke care from the American Heart Association.
“These achievements and awards are a direct reflection of your leadership and commitment to excellence,” said Teague. “On behalf of the hospital and as a member of this community, I thank you.”
The community service awards were presented by Dr. J. Michael Brooks, vice president for medical affairs at CMH. “Dr. Cirillo has been instrumental in supporting the county’s youth athletic programs,” he said, “providing hours of clinical guidance for athletic camps as well as volunteering his time as the sideline physician for many sporting events. His professional and personal demeanor has given comfort to many parents and schools for the past 20 years.”
Dr. Denekas was saluted for his 31 years of outstanding service for the betterment of the medical staff and the patients of Calvert County. He served as medical director and chairman of the hospital’s emergency department for six years, acted as medical director for Calvert Emergency Services for 16 years, was the medical director of Calvert Hospice for almost 10 years and has been with Calvert Family Practice for the past seven years. In addition to his many contributions to numerous CMH committees, he has also been very active as the president of the Calvert County Medical Society for many years and a member of the Board of Trustees of Med Chi.
In presenting the Partners in Care Award to the Johns Hopkins imaging team, Dr. Brooks said, “Their specialized expertise has helped us to discover breast cancer at its very earliest stages and their input is invaluable when it comes to uncovering the extent of the disease and developing individualized treatment plans.”
The team reads all screening mammograms done at Calvert, performs minimally invasive biopsies and procedures onsite, participates in weekly breast tumor board meetings and shares the latest thinking and research happening at Johns Hopkins with regard to the treatment of breast disease. In particular, Dr. Nagi Khouri was singled out for his contributions as medical director for breast imaging at the local center.
“One of the things that I believe makes our medical community so strong,” said CMH Chief of Staff Dr. Varkey Mathew, “is the longevity of service of so many of our physicians.” So, a new tradition was initiated this year with the presentation of service pins to those with 20, 25 and 30 years of service. In all, 46 physicians were honored.