#SHEros: Connie Somera Uy, 19 immigrant women honored in NYC
NEW YORK CITY– Doctor Connie Somera Uy and 19 other immigrant artists and professionals were honored on International Women’s Day, receiving praise from Mayor Bill de Blasio as women leaders who “reflect the talent and tenacity of New Yorkers.”
Uy, a pediatric nephrologist, received her award from the Society of Foreign Consuls (SOFC) in a March 6 ceremony held at the Banquet Hall of the Grand Masonic Lodge at W 23rd Street. The SOFC was founded in 1925 and comprises 110 New York-based consulates. In 2013, Philippine Consul General Mario de Leon Jr. served as president of the organization. This year, the SOFC is headed by Consul General Jana Trnovcova of Slovakia.
Together with Monica Mandelli of Italy, who is a managing director at Goldman Sachs, and Russian Larissa Saveliev, formerly of the Bolshoi Ballet, Uy and the other honorees were acknowledged for their “amazing and outstanding achievements” and for being “wonderful role models.”
“I am humbled,” said Uy, a professor of pediatrics and director of Pediatric Nephrology at the Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, in her acceptance speech. She did a shout-out to another SOFC honoree, Dr. Ana Natale Pereira of Uruguay, who was her student at Rutgers.
The multi-awarded Uy was the first Filipino president of the Nephrology Society of New Jersey, and the first Filipino officer of the Academy of Medicine of New Jersey, according to her bio.
She is currently board chairperson at Philippine American Friendship Committee. Previously, she was vice chair of the Philippine Independence Day Parade committee, and vice president of Handang Tumulong Foundation.
Speaking to The FilAm, Uy, a graduate of UP, came to the U.S. in 1967, first staying at Wisconsin for her medical internship at the Evan Deaconess Hospital in Milwaukee. The following year, she moved to New Jersey, where she practiced medicine, first at the Martland Hospital in Newark. Her family has lived in Pine Brook since the 1970s. Her husband Nestor, who is now retired, was a corporate accountant for 23 years at a private company.
“I never recall any major challenges,” she replied, when asked what it was like being a woman and an Asian immigrant in medicine in the 1960s. “It’s how you project yourself.”
The so-called challenge, according to her, was when she started having children and maintaining the balance between family and career.
“I was lucky to have my parents here who helped take care of my children,” said Uy.
The Uys have two sons and a daughter. Lawrence, the oldest, works at the IT department of Mount Sinai Hospital. Darryl is interim Dean of Admissions at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio. The youngest, Natalie, is doing her Fellowship at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in the Bronx.
“We are the only mother-daughter pediatric nephrologists in the US,” Uy shared with pride. Pediatric nephrologists are specialists who treat children with kidney or urinary tract ailments.
Uy is the first Filipina to receive the New Jersey Woman of Achievement Award for her leadership, philanthropy, and community service, joining the distinguished roster that includes former Governor Christine Todd Whitman, former Congresswoman and fashion editor Millicent Fenwick , and celebrated African American athlete Althea Gibson.
“I’m proud of her,” son Lawrence said of his mother’s award. – Rappler.com
This story was republished with permission from The FilAm, a content partner of Rappler