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Retiring neurosurgeon to continue health mission in native Philippines

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Thursday, Nov. 7, 2013, at 12 a.m.

After more than 25 years of practicing neurosurgery in Wichita, Dr. Eustaquio Abay is retiring from his private practice.

“It’s been a wonderful journey. I have met a lot of people who actually touched my life and led me to where I am, and I’ve also thankfully touched people with my practice and healing with medicine,” Abay said.

“It was one of the most difficult decisions that I’ve had to make.”

But 64-year-old Abay will be staying busy.

“My passion will still remain medicine, but it will be a different scope,” he said.

He plans to work with a nongovernmental organization in his native Philippines called Gawad Kalinga, which is Filipino for “Giving Help.”

Abay’s role will be fundraising and creating a community health program for villages.

Started in 1995 as a Christian mission organization to help build housing for delinquent youth in a Manila slum, Gawad Kalinga has expanded to several countries, including Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It also has a presence in Latin America.

“It’s now becoming a global movement,” he said. “It started in the Philippines, but now we have more than 2,000 villages in many countries. It’s not about just giving houses to the poor but it’s about building communities and giving back their dignity and their hope.”

Abay also plans to consult for LiFEDATA Systems based in the Philippines, which is working with the telephone company Globe to create cloud-based electronic medical records systems and smartphone apps to increase access to health care.

He helped found several medical facilities in Wichita, including the Kansas Spine Hospital and the Abay Neuroscience Center, which he named after his parents. His father was a doctor and his mother was a pharmacist.

Abay was also among the founders of the Mayflower Clinic, a charitable clinic that was started in 2010 by immigrant physicians in Wichita.

He served as a clinical assistant professor of neurosurgery at the University of Kansas School of Medicine-Wichita and was an appointed member of the Kansas Board of Healing Arts.

“Dr. Abay has been a leader in our community,” said Jon Rosell, executive director of the Medical Society of Sedgwick County. “He’s been a passionate advocate for good quality patient care. In the creation of the Kansas Spine Hospital, he had a vision of being able to deliver care in a way that met patient needs.”

Abay received his doctor of medicine from the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, Philippines, in 1973. His residency was at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he also received his master’s degree in neurosurgery in 1982.

He practiced medicine in the Philippines for two years and then practiced for two years in Waterville, Maine, before coming to Wichita in 1986.

Reach Kelsey Ryan at 316-269-6752 or kryan@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @kelsey_ryan.

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