By Bev Llorente, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
LAS VEGAS, NV – During the weekdays, he is a gastroenterologist, a specialist on the digestive system and its disorders. By the weekend, he is community leader, leading the awareness and prevention campaign on deadly diseases like Hepatitis B.
Dr. Noel Fajardo is the only Pinoy gastroenterologist among the roster of medical practitioners in Las Vegas. He said, “I find fulfillment in serving people.”
He finished his degree at the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. He became chief resident at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and he eventually found work at the prestigious Mayo Clinic.
He admits it can get very challenging. He said, “The competition among foreign medical graduates is huge. To show your mark as an excellent resident in training, is really difficult.”
Besides Hepatitis B, Dr. Fajardo also leads the campaign against colorectal cancer. Filipinos have the second poorest five-year survival rates for colon and rectal cancers of all U.S. ethnic groups.
Last year, Dr. Fajardo presented a report to the American College of Gastroenterology in Washington D.C., entitled “Colorectal Cancer Risks Are Increased Among Filipino Americans, a Community-Based Study in Las Vegas”.
He said, “Colon cancer can affect anybody. It affects both men and women, rich and poor, educated or not.”
Dr. Fajardo expects a busy year this year, as he continues his colon check campaign and Hepatitis B screenings in the community.
He said, “Informing them about a disease that can be prevented is going to help people.”
With a report from Henni Espinosa.
TFC and Balitang America are honoring successful kababayans in North America through its ongoing series called “The Filipino Champions: Mga Pinoy na Maipagmamalaki.” If you know anyone who deserves to be featured, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Write The Filipino Champion in the subject line.