Although she doesn’t, Dr. Connie Mariano could boast about her title as the first Filipino American in history to receive the rank of Navy Rear Admiral. However, when she reflects on her past, this “first” may not seem quite as significant as another first: “the first patient.” This is how Dr. Mariano, former White House physician, referred to her most important patient: the president of the United States.
Mariano served for nine years as the White House physician under President George H.W. Bush, President Bill Clinton and President George W. Bush.
Mariano recently published a captivating book about her experiences at the White House. The memoir, titled “The White House Doctor: My Patients Were Presidents,” is written in such a way that you feel as if you’re sitting down with Mariano herself, listening to stories about her years caring for the most important patients of her medical career.
Since 2001, Mariano has lived and served people here in the Valley. After four years working as a consultant in the Executive Health Care Program at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Mariano established the Center for Executive Medicine, a medical concierge practice for CEOs and their families. Framed pictures of Mariano being sworn in as Rear Admiral and posing with Presidents and other world leaders adorn the walls of her medical office, furnished to resemble the West Wing of the White House.
While Mariano has spent her life in innovative service to others, she’s not finished yet. Recently, Mariano was nominated and chosen to sit on the board of directors for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Ever since Mariano’s younger sister came close to death at the age of 3 after accidentally ingesting poisonous liquid, Mariano, who played a vital role in saving her sister’s life, has recognized the importance of quality pediatric care.
Now, a mother of two and a stepmother of two, Mariano continues to see the need for excellent pediatric medicine and as a physician who cares for adults, oftent sees the dangerous effects of unhealthy choices that could have been prevented in childhood.
“As a parent, I can definitely see the importance of (pediatric care),” said Mariano. “But also as a physician who believes in preventative medicine, I think if you can give good care in the pediatrics world, get (children) started with good prevention of disease and good health habits, as well as educate the parents, you’ll have a healthier population.”
When discussing what excited her about the board position with PCH, Mariano said, “The most significant thing was to be part of a great team of people who are really going to make a difference in childcare here in the Valley.”
Mariano looks forward to acting as a liaison between Phoenix Children’s Hospital and the federal government and using the connections she has in Washington to contribute to the growing institution.
“There’s a reason I’m in this position in my life,” Mariano said. “The best thing to do about it is to touch lives.”
With every life she encounters, Mariano asks, “How can I help that life be better?” As a board member for Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Mariano will be able to contribute to the betterment of thousands of young lives.