Philanthropist and Christiana Care Health System Nominee Receives SPIRIT OF WOMEN® 2013 National Award

(WILMINGTON, Del. – July 18)  Chetana Kripalu, M.D., a local primary care physician, has been selected as the National Winner of the 2013 Spirit of Women Community Hero award. Kripalu, nominated by Christiana Care Health System, received the award today during the Spirit of Women’s 14th Annual National Awards celebration in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Spirit of Women awards honor ordinary people who do extraordinary things.  Often faced with great personal loss or physical challenges, 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 the recognition by Spirit of Women,” 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.”

Kripalu was chosen from a pool of regional nominees selected by Christiana Care, which is a part of the Spirit of Women hospital network. Along with her husband Vinod and physician practice partner Reynold Agard, M.D., Kripalu launched Premiere Charities, Inc., a nonprofit group that supports outreach in Delaware and abroad. Kripalu’s philanthropic work through Premiere Charities, includes supporting a unique orphanage in Balagurukulam, India that serves 50 children, many of whom were found in and rescued from garbage dumpsters. Through Kripalu’s involvement, the orphanage has built dormitories, a water tower for continuous access to fresh water and an upgraded kitchen. Kripalu’s foundation also provided funding to cover the costs of computers, transportation, clothing and education for the orphanage’s children.  

Closer to home, 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, Kripalu treats patients who are low-income, homeless or lacking health insurance at the Claymont Community Center.

In 2010, 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, 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, Nick, a rising 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, Mass. and is currently co-chairing the climb in Delaware.  

Christiana Care Health System, headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, is one of the country’s largest health care providers, ranking 21st in the nation for hospital admissions. Christiana Care is a major teaching hospital with two campuses and more than 250 Medical-Dental residents and fellows and is recognized as a regional center for excellence in cardiology, cancer and women’s health services. The system is home to Delaware’s only Level I trauma center, the only center of its kind between Philadelphia and Baltimore and also features a Level 3 neonatal intensive care unit, the only delivering hospital in the state to offer this level of care for newborns. In fiscal year 2012, Christiana Care provided the community with approximately $26.5 million in charity care at cost.

For more information about Christiana Care, visit
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