UE Grad and Former UERM President Passes Away

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The UE community joins the UE Ramon Magsaysay Memorial Medical Center Inc. community in mourning the demise of UERMMMCI’s former President and Chief Academic Officer Romeo A. Divinagracia, MD, MHSA. Dr. Divinagracia passed away last Saturday, January 25, 2020 at age 80.

A University of the East graduate several times over, Dr. Divinagracia had earned his secondary-education diploma from the then UE High School and then his Associate in Arts degree in 1959 from the then UE College of Liberal Arts, before enrolling at the UERMMMCI College of Medicine―from which he would earn his medical degree in 1963 as the Class Valedictorian.

From there, Dr. Divinagracia went on to devote much of his life to the Medical Center.

After taking his residency training in internal medicine at the UERM Memorial Hospital and further training in cardiology and pulmonary diseases at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California, USA, Dr. Divinagracia continued on as a UERMMMCI College of Medicine faculty member. He soon became the Chief of the UERMMH’s Cardiovascular Section and set up the Critical Care Unit of the Hospital’s Department of Medicine. He was the Department’s Head from 1989 to 1993.

In all, Dr. Divinagracia was a professor at his collegiate alma mater for over four decades, helping to mold generation after generation of eventual physicians, and was UERMMMCI President for a total of 21 years, from 1994 to 1998 and then from 2001 to 2018. He had also been a longtime Member of the UERMMMCI Board of Trustees and had been the Executive Director of the Medical Center. In between, he earned his Master in Hospital Services Administration degree from the Ateneo Graduate School of Business, in 1995. Moreover, within all those years, he was an active medical practitioner-cardiologist to countless generations of UE students, alumni, faculty members, personnel and officers.

Dr. Divinagracia was also the pioneer Project Officer and later Education and Training Division Head of the Philippine Heart Center, ultimately becoming the PHC’s Assistant Director from 1998 to 2004. He was likewise a leader among specialty societies, having been President of the Philippine Heart Association (PHA), the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP) and the Philippine College of Cardiology (PCC). He was the Founding President of the Heart Failure Society of the Philippines and the President of the Critical Care Society of the Philippines. He was also a sought-after speaker and lecturer for medical conventions locally and abroad, authored or co-authored over 50 medical articles, and was Editor in Chief of peer-reviewed journals such as the Philippine College of Cardiology Journal, the Philippine Journal of Internal Medicine, and the ASEAN Journal of Cardiology.

Given his numerous accomplishments, Dr. Divinagracia had earned multiple awards across his lifetime and career, most recently the Golden Heart Award from the Philippine Heart Association on May 22, 2019. He earned the title of Professor Emeritus in Medicine of the UERMMCI College of Medicine in 2010; the Lifetime Achievement Award from the PHA in 2008; the Distinguished Physician Award in 2001 and 2008 and the Distinguished Teacher Award in 1996 and 1997, all from the PCP. His beloved Medical Center itself honored with him with a prestigious recognition at least twice: as Most Distinguished Teacher in 1997 and as one of the 50 Most Outstanding UERM Alumni, during UERMMMCI’s 40th and 50th Foundation Anniversaries, respectively.

Dr. Divinagracia is survived by his wife Carmelita Dela Cruz Divinagracia, herself a 1962 graduate and former Dean of the UERMMMCI College of Nursing, along with their three children and several grandchildren.

His remains lie in state at the Cosmopolitan Memorial Chapels and Crematory until cremation this Wednesday, January 29, 2020.

Accepted in lieu of flowers are donations to the UERMMMCI Foundation (Education Resource and Development Fund) set up by Dr. Divinagracia.

Rest in peace, Dr. Divinagracia. Our eternal thanks for your lifelong Warrior passion, dedication and service, Sir.

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