Family medicine physician Chetana Kripalu, M.D., has been selected as the National Winner of the 2013 Spirit of Women Community Hero award. Dr. Kripalu, nominated by Christiana Care, received the award during the Spirit of Women’s 14th Annual National Awards celebration in Las Vegas.
The Spirit of Women awards honor ordinary people who do extraordinary things. These winners represent unsung heroes of American society. The Community Hero Award is given to someone age 21 or older who has shown an extraordinary commitment to service in their community and beyond.
“I am humbled and honored to be selected for recognition by Spirit of Women,” Dr. Kripalu said. “I find joy in serving others and teaching my children to participate in programs that can provide warmth and care to the less fortunate.”
Along with her husband Vinod Kripalu, M.D., and physician practice partner Reynold Agard, M.D., Dr. Kripalu launched Premiere Charities Inc., a nonprofit group that supports outreach in Delaware and abroad. Dr. Kripalu’s philanthropic work through Premiere Charities includes supporting Balagurukulam Orphanage in India, which serves 50 children, many of whom were found in and rescued from streets and garbage heaps. Through Dr. Kripalu’s involvement, the orphanage has built dormitories, a water tower for continuous access to fresh water and an upgraded kitchen. Dr. Kripalu’s foundation also provided funding to cover the costs of computers, transportation, clothing and education for the orphanage’s children.
Closer to home, Dr. Kripalu organized From Our Kitchen, a volunteer group that has been serving lunch to nearly 200 hungry people every Sunday, rain or shine, near the Wilmington train station since 2009.
In her professional practice, Dr. Kripalu treats patients who are low-income, homeless or lacking health insurance at the Claymont Community Center. In 2010, Dr. Kripalu helped found the Delaware Medical Relief Team in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti and served as a medical volunteer on teams that traveled there to help. She also has visited other nations on medical mission trips.
During the 2013 Spirit of Women Awards at Christiana Care, Marilyn Bartley, APN, a Trauma RN-AP at Christiana Care, was selected as the regional winner of the Spirit of Women Healthcare Hero Award. Bartley was one of the first to offer to help with the devastating earthquake in Haiti in 2010. Nick DiIenno, 16, was selected as the Young Person Role Model Award winner by Christiana Care. After losing his Aunt Linda to lung cancer, DiIenno, a senior at Salesianum School in Wilmington, has become an avid supporter of the American Lung Association, which raises money to fund lung-cancer research. He completed the Fight for Air Climb in Boston and is currently co-chairing the climb in Delaware.