If one's a doctor and the President of the United States is their patient, there's bound to be a lot of pressure. However, Adm. Eleanor "Connie" Mariano (ret.) was up to the challenge as the first woman Physician to the President from 1993 to 2001.
Mariano was born in 1955 at former Naval Station Sangley Point, roughly eight miles southwest of Manila, Philippines, as a daughter of a steward in the Navy. Her family moved to the United States two years later. After graduating from high school as valedictorian in 1973, she attended Revelle College at University of California, San Diego, where she matriculated with cum laude honors.
"I came to the White House by way of the kitchen," Mariano said to an audience in 2001. "I came from a family of Navy stewards."
Mariano then joined the Navy in 1977 where she attended the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences on the campus of the former National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and received a medical degree in 1981. After her internship, Mariano was assigned to the USS Prairie (AD 15) and served as physician to her complement of over five-hundred Sailors.
Following other appointments including as Head of Internal Medicine at the Naval Hospital in San Diego, she was nominated to the post of White House Physician, in 1992. She served in that office for nearly a decade, longer than any other presidential physician and treated three sitting presidents. She was nominated for appointment to rear admiral (Lower Half) in May 2000.
"Throughout my entire presidency, Connie was at my side making sure I stayed healthy," said former President William Jefferson Clinton, from Mariano's website. "She was with me during the happy and the sad times, as well as in the historic and private moments. I trusted her with my life and the lives of my family.”
Breaking the tradition of Navy stewards that her family before her had set, Connie Mariano is a clear addition to the proud tradition of women in the Navy. Although she now is retired and working in private practice, she doesn't forget where she came from.
"Although I knew my 'place' as a steward's daughter, I also believed that the 'place' I inherited was capable of honor and dignity," said Mariano.