By Yoly T.Tubalinal
There’s a very good reason why Drs. Nunilo and Elenita Rubio enjoy the love, respect and honor of their community – they have earned it , therefore, they deserved it. It’s the fruit of their compassion, generosity and service to people from all walks of life. It’s the natural consequence of their good works and strong commitment to excellence and professionalism and their remarkable humility that separates them from the rest of their successful and distinguished colleagues. Indeed, Drs. Nunilo and Elenita Rubio may have sought success and got it, but they have also acquired value in the process and thus became, in Albert Einstein’s eyes, men of value, beloved by their community.
Both Drs. Nunilo and Elenita Rubio believe in giving back to their community and to their country of birth. Not only did they give of themselves in the medical missions to the Philippines along with their fellow doctors at PMAC, they have also generously supported these missions and many other worthy causes. In 2008 Dr. Elenita Rubio donated $5,000 to the PMAC Medical Mission from her fundraising as the Philippine Independence Week Celebration’s Mrs. Philippines 2008.
The Rubios have also participated in the annual thanksgiving dinner and health fair for seniors at the Rizal Center in Chicago and contributed to the community center’s improvement and upkeep. They were also among the select donors that made possible the mounting of Dr. Jose Rizal’s life-size statue along Lake Shore Drive.
Drs. Elenita and Nunilo Rubio, together with Dr. and Mrs. Alibudbud donated 6 acres of land to the Knights of Rizal of Jacksonville, Florida to build the Dr. Jose Rizal Community Center. To their native town of Bacoor, Cavite, Drs. Elenita and Nunilo Rubio have donated a classroom, toilet facility, office equipment, medical supplies and drugs to the Puericulture Health Center. They also donated water tank and artesian well for Psychiatric patients at Trece Martirez and gave monetary contributions to Cavite’s St. Michael Catholic Church for the food pantry for the poor. To countries ravaged by earthquake, tsunamis and other natural calamities, the Rubios were among the compassionate and generous people who immediately answered the call of social responsibility.
Having raised 3 highly accomplished children, the Rubio couple has gained another badge of honor to add to their long list of individual awards and recognition, among them, the “Tahanan Award for Outstanding Parents” from Gintong Pamana Awards Foundation, Inc. and “Model Family” from Via Times. As parents, Drs. Nunilo and Elenita earned their place first in the hearts of their children, their firstborn Nunilo, Jr., their second son, Noel and their youngest, Nathaniel, all of whom adored and respected them and for the good role models they have always been.
What better way is there to give back to these parents who worked hard to give them the best opportunities in life but to study hard and become the best person they can ever be? Nunilo, Jr. who, along with his wife Cheryl has just given their parents their first grandson, Nunilo Ethan III, is an Assistant Professor at the Pediatric Endocrine Division and a Pediatric Endocrinology consultant at the University of Texas, Houston. A rising star in his field, John (Nunilo, Jr) was chosen Teaching Physician of the Year by Graduating Pediatric Residents of 2007, 2008 and 2011. In 2010 he received the Dean’s Teaching Excellence Award from The University of Texas Medical School.
Noel, also a medical doctor, has a glowing academic and professional record of his own. He graduated cum laude in both his bachelor’s courses in Psychology and Biology and medical school at Ross University School of Medicine. He is a Diplomate in Internal Medicine and is a member of the Board of Directors of St. Mary/St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Staff. Dr. Noel has co-authored with doctors like Dolan several publications, poster presentations and abstreacts on Echocardiography, immunology, jaundiced eyes, etc. He is currently maintaining a private practice with his parents.
Nathaniel or Nate to his family and friends, obtained two bachelor’s degrees from Boston University: Chemistry, and Philosophy and Religion. He dabbled in Industrial Design Studies in Columbia University for 3 ½ years before finishing his Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy. He became Board Certified in Occupational Therapy and was soon hired by the Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas, where he was awarded Employee of the Year in 2010. Nate was an honor student at the New Trier High School in Wilmette, IL and the recipient of the Dean’s Scholarship Award in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Columbia University, New York. He is married to Leticia Sahagun of Houston, TX.
Dr. Nunilo Rubio, who hails from Cavite, obtained his Doctor of Medicine degree from Far Eastern University in 1967 and his Residency and Fellowship at Hines V.A. Hospital and Loyola Stritch School of Medicine. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Endocrinology and a Fellow of both the American College of Physicians and the American College of Endocrinology.
In 1992, Dr. Rubio served as the Medical Director of the Center of Diabetes at St. Mary/St. Elizabeth Hospital. He has also worked as Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine, Chairman of the Department of Medicine at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, Chairman of the Chicago Medical Society (CMS) membership committee and Overall Chairman , CMS (1996) , Midwest Clinical Conference , Longitudinal Primary Care Preceptor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine , Loyola Stritch College of Medicine and Midwestern University. Dr. Rubio’s standing among his colleagues in the medical profession can be gleaned from various positions of importance and respect they had accorded him. He served as President of the following Medical Associations: Chicago Medical Society (Northwest Branch,’ 87-‘89), Far Eastern University Medical Alumni (‘85-‘87), Philippine Medical Association of Chicago and the Midwest (‘84-‘85), St. Elizabeth Hospital Medical Staff (‘83-‘84)
Excellence and achievements come with perks, notably awards and recognition, not to mention respect and influence which the Rubios have never had a shortage of. Among the awards given to Dr. Nunilo were: “Top 10 Doctors in Chicago Metro” from Castle Connoly Guide (2002), Outstanding Filipino in the Field of Medicine from the Cavite Association of America, Outstanding Alumni from the FEU medical Alumni Foundation (1992), Outstanding Alumni Award –Association of Philippine Physicians in America (1992), Extra Special Physician Award – St. Elizabeth Hospital (1990), Distinguished Physician Award- Phil. Medical Assoc. of Chicago (1986), Most Outstanding Asian Award – Asian American Coalition (1987), Humanitarian Award- Knights of Rizal, Jacksonville, Kamanyang Award in Medicine – Gintong Pamana Awards Foundation, Inc. (1996), Filipino Hall of Fame Award in Medicine (2004), Golden Life Award –Chicago Philippine Lions Club (2008) and the Humanitarian Award given by the Illinois Secretary of State during the Asian American Coalition night.
Dr. Elenita Ignacio Rubio
A graduate of Doctor of Medicine from the University of Santo Tomas, Dr. Elenita Rubio obtained her Illinois State Licensure in 1972 and became a member of the Illinois State Medical Society, Chicago Medical Society, Philippine Medical Association of Chicago and the UST Medical Alumni Association of the Midwest. She served as Clinical Instructor at Loyola Stritch School of Medicine and as Attending Physician in the Metabolic Ward of Hines V A Hospital, both in Maywood, IL. She has since maintained private practice, specializing in internal medicine, along with husband Dr. Nunilo Rubio, an endocrinologist and recently, with son Dr. Noel Rubio. The three Rubio physicians are affiliated with St. Elizabeth and St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital in Chicago.
In between her busy medical career, Dr. Elenita Rubio has taken proactive roles in her and her husband’s professional and community organizations. She served as President of the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago and the Midwest Auxiliary in 1988-1989 and as Chairman of the Board of the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago Foundation from 1992 to 1995. She also served in the Board of Governors of PMAC and of the UST Medical Association of the Midwest.
In 1995 Philippine Time USA News & People Magazine honored her with a unique award, the first ever Prism Award for Women of Style & Achievements, a distinction earned by women whose versatility showed in their personal style, work and endeavors. As if to validate this award, Dr. Rubio went on to receive other awards recognizing her other significant roles. Having raised with her loving husband, three wonderful high achieving sons, two doctors, namely Nunilo Jr. and Noel and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, Nathaniel, Dr. Elenita Rubio and her husband reaped awards in parenting. She was tendered the Most Outstanding Mother Award by the Marinduque Association of Chicago and the Asian Model Family Award by Asian Chronicle USA in 2005; Distinguished Couple Award in 2009 by the Chicago Filipino American Lions Club, Tahanan Award for Outstanding Parenting in 2008 by the Gintong Pamana Awards Foundation and the Model Family of the Year in 2011 by the Chicago Hall of Fame.
Among the numerous awards she received were: Who’s Who of American Women (1978), Who’s Who in the Midwest (1985) and Who’s Who in the World (1992), all of which were published by Macmillan Marquis Publications. In 1992 she was awarded the Outstanding Woman of the Year in Health by the Filipino American Women’s Club of Chicago. Cavite Association of America also bestowed on her a Humanitarian Award for her consistent involvement in Medical Missions in the Philippines. In 1983, she was chosen by this same club to receive the “Cavitena of the Year” Award and in 1999 this same organization gave her the Outstanding Filipino in the Field of Medicine award. Another award in Medicine was given her by the Asian Hall of Fame in May 2007. Dr. Rubio’s contributions and work extended beyond her residence state of Illinois as proven by the Humanitarian Award she received from the Knights of Rizal of Jacksonville, Florida for her contribution to the Rizal Building Project Site. In September 2011, Dr. Elenita Rubio was honored with a “Distinguished Physician Award” by her colleagues at the Philippine Medical Association of Chicago (PMAC).
For the Rubios, history appears certain to repeat itself. With children like John, Noel and Nate, carving their names in their chosen fields of endeavor, the best for the Rubios is yet to come.