FRANCIS P. CHIARAMONTE

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CHIARAMONTE FRANCIS P. CHIARAMONTE, JR., M.D. Surgeon, Hospital Founder, Philanthropist Francis Paul Chiaramonte, Jr., M.D. of Camp Springs, Maryland, died Sunday, May 19, 2013 at the age of 84. The son of Italian immigrants, he was born on November 30, 1928 to Francis and Teresa Chiaramonte of Shelter Island, NY. Dr. Chiaramonte was raised on his family's Shelter Island farm, where he developed his lifelong love of fishing, hunting, horseback riding, and all things outdoors. He graduated from Shelter Island High School in 1946 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Colgate University in 1950. Dr. Chiaramonte then served in the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1953. He went on to attend Columbia University, earning a Master of Public Health degree in 1954, and Georgetown University School of Medicine, where he earned his medical degree in 1958. He married Dorothy Ann Scuderi in 1957, and they resided in Marlow Heights, MD before relocating to Camp Springs, MD in 1965. Together they raised six children, three girls and three boys. After concluding his internship as a Commissioned Officer in the US Public Health Service, Staten Island, NY, in 1959, Dr. Chiaramonte completed his residency training in general surgery, with a specialization in urological surgery, at Georgetown University in 1963. He then joined the faculty at George Washington University Hospital (GW) as an Assistant Clinical Professor, and held this position until 1969. During that time, he was also Director of GW's Urological Residency Program. Dr. Chiaramonte was the first full-time urological surgeon in the Southern Maryland peninsula, having established his practice there in 1968. Demand for his care was immense, and large numbers of patients who loved him traveled from the lower counties of Southern Maryland for treatment. To house his burgeoning practice, he developed the Marlow Heights Diagnostic Center in Marlow Heights, MD. As a result of working with his patients, he learned of the great unmet need for advanced clinical services that could only be provided by a full service general hospital. Determined to "bring healthcare back to the bedside" and provide the advanced medical care his patients sorely needed, Dr. Chiaramonte founded Southern Maryland Hospital Center, which opened in November 1977, in Clinton, Maryland. The 300-bed hospital and related system of health services provided over two thousand jobs and became the largest private employer in the region. Despite overwhelming challenges, his extraordinary vision and boundless passion for the provision of quality healthcare compelled Dr. Chiaramonte to realize his dream. "Dr. C," as he was affectionately known by so many of his employees and patients, continued his urology practice even while serving as the hospital's President and Chairman of the Board. Through the hospital, services as varied as interventional cardiology, stroke care, obstetrical services, inpatient psychiatry, neurosurgery, and advanced emergency medicine were introduced for the first time in southern Prince George's County, and hence became available to all Southern Maryland residents. In the following years, Dr. Chiaramonte expanded the organization's healthcare offerings to include home-based nursing care and medical supply, outpatient imaging, community primary care, outpatient physical therapy, and cardiac rehabilitation. Because he passionately believed in community healthcare access, he introduced free mobile clinic screening and primary care across the region. Perhaps most significant for the community's access to advanced medical care was the arrival of hundreds of physician specialists who worked in the hospital, many of whom did so out of regard for Dr. Chiaramonte. Upon completion, his healthcare campus included a hotel for patients' families, medical office buildings for physicians, and a townhouse community for employees. Numerous civic awards and community recognitions were bestowed upon Dr. Chiaramonte. Significant among these are the American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award, the Governor's Salute to Excellence Award presented by William Donald Schaefer, the National Italian American Foundation's Man of the Year Award, the Distinguished Service Award from Greater Southeast Community Hospital, the Lions Club President's Award, and the Prince George's County Chamber of Commerce Citizen of the Year Award. He was selected as the Honorary Commander of the 79th Medical Wing of the United States Air Force, Joint Base Andrews. Dr. Chiaramonte was a member of numerous medical professional organizations, and was appointed to several community and civic leadership boards. His achievements are recorded in the Congressional Record. Dr. Chiaramonte was also a generous benefactor and patron. Among many philanthropic endeavors, the advancement of education and the conservation of natural resources were the major focus of his giving. Dr. Francis Chiaramonte, MD is survived by his wife, Dorothy Chiaramonte, and five children: Francis Chiaramonte, Ph.D. (Jennifer); Claire Chiaramonte Wagner (Daniel); Cathe Chiaramonte, MD, (Richard Baum); Michael Chiaramonte, MBA (Elizabeth); and Mark Chiaramonte, Esq. He was predeceased by his daughter, Diane Teresa Chiaramonte. He is also survived by 14 grandchildren: Colleen, Caroline, Daniel, Zachary, Catherine, William, Elizabeth, Garrett, Sophia, Emma, Alexander, Samuel, Juliana, and SaraClaire. Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, at 12 p.m., May 25, 2013 at St. John's the Evangelist, Catholic Church, Clinton, Maryland. The Reception, in Celebration of Dr. Chiaramonte's life, will follow at 1:30 p.m., at the Colony South Hotel, Clinton, Maryland. Flowers may be sent to: the Colony South Hotel, 7401 Surratts Road, Clinton, MD 20735. In lieu of flowers, please send a donation to a focusing on education or the conservation of natural resources.

Published in The Washington Post from May 23 to May 25, 2013
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