Physician Honored for Volunteering at Clinic, Serving the Needy

Jovenel-CherenfantJovenel Cherenfant, M.D. (second from right), a general surgery specialist, accepts the 2013 Catherine McAuley Clinic Gratitude Award from Franciscan St. Margaret Health president Thomas Gryzbek during a program Nov. 20 at the Hammond campus. Also shown are Cherenfant’s wife, Mistry, who received roses for supporting her husband’s efforts; and Franciscan Healthcare-Munster president Barbara Greene.

Physicians receive the annual honor for volunteering at the clinic, which, since 1996, has provided medical and referral services at minimal cost for needy Northwest Indiana residents. The award has been presented since 2008.

Gryzbek praised Cherenfant’s dedication, citing a recent medical missions trip to Ghana during which Cherenfant and two other local physicians performed some 60 surgeries and treated more than 1,000 adults and children for various afflictions. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of you for what you have done for us and for so many others. What you do day in and day out is most important to our ministry,” Gryzbek said.

Greene, whose hospital provided funding and medical supplies for the trip, also praised Cherenfant. “We are blessed to have you in our Franciscan Alliance family – you are the kind of person I would send my family to for care.”

Cherenfant said he at first balked at receiving the honor, but was persuaded by Kathy O’Donnell, R.N., hospital physician liaison and Midwest Bariatric Institute manager. The physician, who said his primary concern is helping people, said credit also belonged to the McAuley staff and the Franciscan St. Margaret Health surgical team. “Without them, I could do nothing,” he said, noting about the McAuley staff, “Whatever the circumstances might be, you treat your patients without judgment. This is really not for me, it is for all of you and for my wife. I couldn’t do this without a supporting cast. I should be thanking you.

Cherenfant has served at McAuley since he joined the hospital staff two years ago. McAuley, 5514 Hohman Ave., is under the hospital’s auspices. For more information on the clinic’s services, call (219) 933-2018.