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Physician Statement: Dr. Jerry Umanos

Press Release | April 25th, 2014

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April 25, 2014

The following statement was released today by Lawndale Christian Health Center's Chief Clinical Officer over Quality, Dr. Bruce Rowell, regarding the death of our beloved colleague, Dr. Jerry Umanos.

"It is with the deepest of sadness that I write today, mourning the loss of my dear friend and colleague Dr. Jerry Umanos. Dr. Jerry Umanos was a pediatrician at Lawndale Christian Health Center for 25 years and touched the lives of countless children and families in and around the Lawndale community of Chicago. Jerry’s greatest desire was to use every skill he had and every moment of his days to be the hands and feet of Christ in service to others – whether here in Chicago or on the other side of the globe in Afghanistan. For nearly a decade, Jerry volunteered in Afghanistan at CURE International Hospital. There, he compassionately cared for some of the most vulnerable pediatric patients in a place with severely limited resources. Jerry learned the Dari language and developed a heart for the Afghan people. His tireless energy focused on developing a medical residency program to train Afghan doctors to deliver top-quality pediatric care, just as he provided to his patients at Lawndale. 

Jerry fully understood the risks of serving in Afghanistan. For him, the privilege of serving the Afghan people far outweighed this risk. He truly lived his life according to Jesus’ instructions to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself” (Luke 10:27). Jerry loved his neighbor wherever he was. When he saw need, he went. Jerry looked at the world as through the eyes of Christ and he responded, not reluctantly, but with an inner joy flowing outward from his strong faith. 

Jerry loved what he was doing. His enthusiasm was so contagious that since 2007 many Lawndale Christian Health Center staff and friends have traveled to Afghanistan alone and in teams to help at CURE International Hospital, see patients in a family medicine clinic, teach medical residents, or set up health screenings in schools to help Afghan children and families in the poorest neighborhoods in Kabul. Many pediatricians went, but so did internists, family medicine physicians, OB/GYN physicians, midwives, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, physician assistants, psychologists, nurses, medical assistants, and others. I am thankful that I was twice able to volunteer alongside Jerry in Afghanistan. Along the way, these groups, including me, also met and grew to love the dear Afghans with whom we worked and served. Please pray with us, the Lawndale family, and for the Afghan residents, physicians, and medical staff that Jerry worked with side-by-side every day. They are hurting too. Pray also that God would comfort not just these, but all those affected by this tragedy, including Jerry’s family and the entire staff of CURE Hospital in Kabul. In this way, we can continue to honor Jerry’s legacy."

Bruce Rowell, M.D.

Chief Clinical Officer for Quality

Lawndale Christian Health Center