The doctor is in: Meet Leo A. De La Cruz, MD

THE chaotic, vexing, and perplexed world has relied principally on medicine for betterment and considered medical practitioners instruments for healing.
But according to the Jewish physician-philosopher Malmonides, the physicians shouldn’t just concentrate primarily on treating the disease but the point of concentration should rather be on the patient suffering from it.
In contradiction to such statement, natural food author Dr. Emmer Densmore says, “Medicine is not science. It is empiricism founded on a network of blunders.”
Still, American inspirational author Dr. Orison Swett Marden states that: “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great and no tonic so powerful as the expectation of something bright tomorrow.”
For whatever and however it is, everything boils down into the general conception that still an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. Human systems are subject to wear and tear and therefore the help of someone who specializes in specific area of medicine is to be sought. And there could be some truth to what they say that the presence of a compassionately accommodating medical personality in a clinical setting initially heals the patient even before a prescription is written and that such scenario could be as rare as catching a raindrop in a mid-summer day.
Meet, then, Dr. Leo A. Dela Cruz, a geriatric-psych practitioner and consultant at CarePoint Health at Christ Hospital in Jersey City, known for his amiable and compassionate nature.
Doc Leo, as colleagues and friends fondly address him, is the eldest among a brood of 10 (six boys and four girls) to a Cebuano medical couple, Drs. Jose and Welihida Dela Cruz, an anesthesiologist and OB-Gyn, respectively. The medical calling strongly runs in the Dela Cruz bloodline having had successfully produced four doctors, five nurses, and a medical technologist.
A consistent A-lister from elementary to secondary schools, Doc Leo graduated at the top of his class. He obtained his AB Psychology degree, Magna Cum-Laude, from the Southwestern University in Cebu in 1982 and ranked first in his batch of 136 when he graduated from the College of Medicine in 1986.
Aside from enjoying the academic scholarship grants from 1979-1986, he was simultaneously granted the Miller Sanitarium and Hospital Medical Scholarship from 1982-1986. An awardee of the Asklepian Excellence for Medicine in 1985, he was also given the Winthrop Stearns Scholarship in 1986 for being a top medical graduate, the Philippine Medical Association award for being the most outstanding among his batch, and recognized as the Most Outstanding Post Graduate Intern of Manila Sanitarium and Hospital in 1987.
Driven by his earnest aspiration to attain much more knowledge, he went to America, not only to seek for the proverbial greener pasture but to further enhance his quest for medical advancement. He took his internship in Internal Medicine at the La Guardia Hospital in Forest Hills (NY) from 1990 to 1991 and his Psychiatric Residency at the St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center of NY from 1991 to 1994, where he also did his fellowship in Geriatric Psychiatry for a year.
After consecutive years of studies and practice, Doc Leo is currently loaded with an impressive roster of medical-related achievements: being a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association, Diplomate of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology with Board Certification in General Adult Psychiatry, Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine, Diplomate and Fellow of the American College of Forensic Examiners Institute, Diplomate and Fellow of the Psychotherapy Association, Fellow of the American Board of Disability Analysts, and Diplomate and Fellow of the American Association of Integrative Medicine.
His memberships and affiliations to various medical organizations include: the American Psychiatric Association, the American Medical Association, the American Association of Geriatric Psychiatrists, the American Association of Addiction Psychiatrists, the Philippine-American Medical Society of New Jersey, the Philippine Psychiatrists of America, the American College of Forensic Examiners, and the American Psychotherapy Association.
Doc Leo, aside from being the Attending Consultant at CarePoint Health at Christ Hospital, could still manage to cope up with a string of healthcare consultancies: Alaris at Hamilton Park Healthcare Center, Atrium at Hamilton Park, Harborview Healthcare Center, St. Anne’s Home for the Aged, Cusack Healthcare Center, and the Liberty House Nursing Home.
A geriatrician by heart, Doc Leo specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease and disability in older adults. As a Board Certified primary care practitioner specially trained in the field, the kind-hearted doctor provides comprehensive medical care. In his wide scope of practice, Doc Leo deals with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, diabetes, epilepsy, heart disease, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, stroke, and other related medical conditions in elderly patients.
Meeting with a huge number of patients each day and going through the routinary grind during hospital rounds could be taxing but not for Doc Leo. For him, every day is a welcome change and every case is a challenge. His genuinely caring attitude and amiable approach make the daily pattern comfortable. He’s constantly equipped with the ability to conceive and apply a more personal approach that enables him to deal with his patients in a conducive and harmonious interaction.
Born assertive and straightforward, Doc Leo had been used to quash the waiting temerity either in petulant words or aggravated ferocity from among his distraught patients. “It’s all part of the day’s work!” He’ll merely react in jest.
Having had encountered quite a number of serious psych cases in his more than two decades of practice, Doc Leo treats his patients with the utmost benevolence and highly efficient evaluation, and could manageably handle rudimentary procedures with care and precision. His remarkable knowledge on leading-edge consultation and therapeutic management has been made even more effective with his innately humane concern for his patients and genuine commitment to his profession.
“Although oftentimes there are extremely isolated cases that needed a more personal attention it still feels great when the case review reveals extensively gradual progress. I feel I have accomplished what I have toiled for and that gives me a great sense of fulfillment!”
Doc Leo could only look back sans a trace of regret when he inevitably heeded his parents’ advise to take up Medicine and responded to the serendipitous calling of compassionate patient care…finally dismissing his initial inclination to fashion design.
But by twist of fate or in a change of life’s event, Doc Leo could have been one of today’s most sought after fashion gurus in the industry had it not for his parents’ persistent persuasion to follow their footsteps. Doc Leo has that distinctly exquisite fashion taste. His creative ideas could be more flamboyant and unique…somewhat at par with Christian Lacroix, Betsey Johnson, Gianni Versace, or Malcolm Hall. It is quite evident in his choice of cuts and colors. Flaming reds, shocking fuchsias, dazzling tangerines, and scandalous chartreuses dominate his wardrobe collection and not to disregard his voluminous stock of matching socks.
And that’s only a minute side of Doc Leo’s persona for this Sagittarian came from a musically inclined family. All his siblings play the piano, a talent passed on to their nieces and nephews while others play the violin, guitar and cello.
The compassionate doctor not only reinvents the traditional practice but transcends farther to the limits of his innate aesthetic boundaries. When free from clinical duties, he unreservedly releases his tensions by way of several rounds of tennis matches with colleagues, watching his favorite TV shows (tennis games and Forensic Files), singing, and playing the piano.
A collection of his favorite piano pieces was rearranged and recorded in CD which he gave out as holiday gifts to friends. Aptly titled “Music At My Fingertips” the CD contains 12 cuts plus a self-composed overture which included: Carousel, Windmills, Love Is All That Matters, Godfather, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, Moon River, Chariots of Fire, O Solo Mio, Misty, Over The Rainbow, Looking Through The Eyes of Love, and Sound of Silence.
It is also worth mentioning that the indefatigable doctor is a self-taught culinary master having turned his kitchen into an experimental lab of his prolific kitchen recipes. Doc Leo could convincingly whip and dish out personally concocted menu from scratch or out of what’s left in the fridge which he labeled “tiramisu,” his own coined word for “tira-tirahan” or left over parcels of food.
Shopping or store hopping becomes Doc’s favorite pastime next to having a much needed full eight-hour sleep. There seems no wasted time for Doc Leo inside a mall or bargain center endlessly hunting for anything that meets his style. “Just feel too bad when my shopping spree was cut after Daffy’s untimely closed all its stores and outlets,” he despondently muses.
Practicing his profession with such dedication and immense integrity, Dr. Leo Dela Cruz is one kind-hearted medical exponent who could easily diagnose his patients by mere psychological approach. Sometimes it’s not merely the effect of medical dosage that heals but the incredible psychological magnetism a physician applies that works wonders.
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  1. Leo is the heart and soul of our MHAM ‘86 group. He’s a wonderful friend, true to the end, a treasured jewel to keep and cherish. His humility and kindness are enormously far greater than his career achievements and success. We love you , Queen B. Super proud of you!

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