Meet the 'White House' doctor

ABOUT THE BOOK: "THE WHITE HOUSE DOCTOR" Dr. Connie Mariano is used to breaking barriers, used to shattering the glass ceiling. Born to a Navy father and Filipina mother in the Philippines, Mariano traveled and lived military base to military base, typical of the life of a family in the American armed forces. Along the way she accumulated life experiences and the desire to make her own mark in the world. She has achieved an impressive list of "firsts" that include:

  • the first military woman to become the White House Physician to the President
  • the first woman Director of the White House Medical Unit
  • the first Filipino American in US history to become a Navy Rear Admiral

    These amazing achievements are just the tip of the iceberg of accomplishments for this remarkable woman, told with grace, humor and passion in her new book, The White House Doctor: My Patients were Presidents.

    Mariano served nine years as White House doctor, first for the final year of the term of George H.W. Bush, then for the entire eight years of Bill Clinton, and lastly, during the first year of George W. Bush's first term in office. During that time she not only cared for the leader of the free world and the entire First Family, she also cared for dignitaries, and traveled all over the world with the Presidents in her charge. From meeting the Pope four times to greeting King Juan Carlos of Spain to spending a night on the Queen of England's yacht, Mariano saw a glittering side of life few get to experience.

    Glamour aside, being the White House Doctor to the President involved tremendous pressures, including:

  • training with the Secret Service for AOP (Attack on the Principal) and water rescue drills
  • treating First Lady Hillary Clinton for a blood clot
  • treating President Clinton's mother during her battle with breast cancer
  • taking care of President Clinton when he injured his leg
  • working inside the METU (Medical Evaluation and Treatment Unit) at Bethesda Naval Hospital, which is set up like a private ward for the President and Vice President, and is never used for anyone else

    Mariano also discusses controversies she became a part of simply by being White House Doctor. Many of these centered around the Monica Lewinsky affair involving President Clinton. Mariano was asked to take Clinton's blood sample to match it with the DNA of the infamous stain on Lewinsky's dress.

    Throughout The White House Doctor, Mariano harkens back to all the hard work she put in to get to this place in her life. And it wasn't all sunshine and an easy path. She found herself having to fight stereotypes many times, both against women and minorities. This even occurred once she reached the position of Physician to the President. On more than one occasion she found herself being treated like she was hired help, not a doctor. Painful as these times were to her she, was devoted to her work, remembering the great lessons her father instilled in her when she was young.

    Dr. Connie Mariano was born in Sangley Point, Philippines, the eldest daughter of a career Navy enlisted serviceman and his wife, a dentist. Her family moved to Hawaii when she was two years old and typical for a military family, moved frequently during her father's Navy career. Dr. Mariano has lived in Hawaii, California, Taiwan and Washington, DC.

    Dr. Mariano graduated as Valedictorian from Mar Vista High School in Imperial Beach, California in 1973. She received her Bachelor's Degree with honors from Revelle College at the University of California at San Diego in 1977. In 1981, Dr. Mariano received her Medical Degree from the Uniformed Services University School of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, the nation's military medical school. She was commissioned as lieutenant in the United States Navy upon graduation.

    Dr. Mariano completed her internship and residency in Internal Medicine at the Naval Hospital in San Diego. She served as General Medical Officer and Medical Department Division Head onboard the USS Prairie, a destroyer tender from 1982-1984. While onboard her ship, Dr. Mariano completed a Western Pacific deployment.

    Upon receiving board-certification in Internal Medicine, Dr. Mariano was assigned to the Naval Medical Clinic in Port Hueneme, California from 1986-1990 where she ran the Specialty Clinic and the clinic's urgent care facility. In 1990, Dr. Mariano returned to the Naval Hospital in San Diego to become the Division Head of General Internal Medicine.

    In June 1992, Dr. Mariano became the first military woman in American history to be appointed White House Physician. She was nominated by the Navy and selected by the White House for this honor. In 1994, Dr. Mariano was named Director of the White House Medical Unit and chosen by President William Clinton to serve as his personal physician. Dr. Mariano served nine years at the White House where she was physician to three sitting American Presidents.

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