Dr. Romeo P. Ariniego, FPCP, FPCC, former vice president for academics of De La Salle Health Sciences Institute and one of the most revered faculty and former dean of the College of Medicine was conferred the Distinguished Teacher Award 2013 last 29 May 2013, during the 44th Annual Convention of the Philippine Heart Association.
For most of the College of Medicine’s alumni, the award couldn’t be more fitting for the mentor they lovingly call “Dr. RA”. As a teacher of medicine, he has left significant marks in many of past and current DLSHSI faculty and administrators; they always talk about him with respect, affection, and admiration. Known to be always ready to crack his whip during teaching rounds for students who fail to know by heart their patient’s condition, Dr. RA is also a caring and concerned mentor who does not hesitate to help students in need. For years now, his home and his extensive medicine library has been open to scholars who need a place to stay and who want to learn with the doctor. His clinic always has the longest queue of patients of all ages – and conditions – at De La Salle University Medical Center.
Dr. RA has now donated said home to the De La Salle Health Sciences Institute to ensure that DLSHSI scholars will always have a place to stay even after he is gone. He also gave a very sizable donation for the construction of the DLSHSI library, which was named in his honor. Asked why he chose to donate for the construction of the library, Dr. RA said, “I know how important a library is especially for poor students. Throughout my years of studying, I survived because of the kind librarians who were lenient when it came to my borrowing of books because they knew I didn’t have the money to buy my own copies.”
Dr. RA is also a popular champion of the DLSHSI support staff. In 2007, he established an endowment fund to support the children of support staff who want to become doctors. This scholarship fund currently benefits a medical student who is the daughter of a DLSHSI staff.
Despite all the accolades he has received – Distinguished Service Award from the Philippine Heart Association, National Lorenzo M. Tañada CHIMES Award from De La Salle Philippines, and the International Health Professional distinction – Dr. RA remains the same compassionate man who up to this day, receives gifts of fruits, crops, and chickens from his patients in lieu of a consultation or professional fee.