With Fil-Am History Month coming to a close, I wanted to feature a Filipina-American who I feel has made a difference in the community. Eleanor Concepcion “Connie” Mariano is a Filipino-American physician and former flag officer in the United States Navy. She is the first Filipino-American and graduate of the Uniformed Services University of Medicine to reach the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy as well as the first woman to be the director of the White House Medical Unit.
Mariano was born at the Sangley Point Naval Base in Cavite City, Philippines in 1955. Two years later, her parents arrived in the United States. Her father served in the navy as a steward and eventually retired with the rank of Master Chief. Mariano was thevaledictorian of her Mar Vista High School, Imperial Beach, California, class of 1973. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego’s Revelle College with cum laude honors and a degree in biology. Mariano joined the U.S. Navy in 1977 and received a medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of Medicine in 1981.
Mariano was nominated to the rank of Rear Admiral by President Bill Clinton and eventually served as the White House Physician for President Clinton and President George W. Bush. In 2001, Dr. Mariano retired from the Navy and left the White House to join the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. She was succeeded as White House Physician by Richard Tubb. In 2005, she went on to found the Center for Executive Medicine in Scottsdale. Hawaii Senator Will Espero submitted Mariano’s name to President Barack Obama for the position of Surgeon General of the United States in May 2009.
She is the author of the book The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents – A Memoir. With a foreword from Bill Clinton, the autobiographical book takes a look at the personal lives of the three American Presidents and three American First Ladies she had taken care of while working as a Physician to the President.