NEW PORT RICHEY Sep-24: A long list of community accomplishments earned Dr. Rao Musunuru a Point of Light Award from Gov. Charlie Crist. This morning, the Pasco County Commission congratulated Musunuru, a cardiologist on the staff of the Heart Institute at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, in Hudson.
"You are a shining example," Crist wrote of Musunuru in his Point of Light Award citation.
State Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Holiday, presented a county proclamation today to Musunuru.
The doctor was instrumental in getting many health-related bills through the Florida Legislature, Anderson said. The measures Musunuru lobbied on behalf of include the Emergency Medical Dispatch Bill, in 2003, Florida Stroke Act, in 2004, and the Student Health Promotion and Tobacco Prevention Program acts, both in 2006.
In addition, he aided the effort to get automatic external defibrillators placed in Florida senior centers and state parks.
Musunuru taught prevention and prompt intervention of cardiovascular disease, the No. 1 killer of both men and women.
He received three national awards in the past five years from the American Heart Association, 2003 National Chairman's Award, 2005 National Physician of the Year Award, and 2007 National Volunteer Advocate of the Year Award, for his outstanding and long-lasting service through advocacy, education and charity.
In addition to his clinical cardiology practice in West Central Florida since 1981, Musunuru was instrumental in transforming what was once a 50-bed community hospital into major medical center with a number of specialized units, including the Heart Institute.
Musunuru is a member of the board of trustees for Pasco-Hernando Community College and is a past chairman of the board and current honorary board member of the elderly services agency CARES. He is on the board of the Good Samaritan Health Clinic of Pasco.
Musunuru earned the 2008 Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award from West Pasco Chamber of Commerce.
The county proclamation pointed out Musunuru led efforts for successful passage of the "Smoke Free for Health" Constitutional Amendment 6 several years ago.
He lobbied for another constitutional amendment that now requires the Legislature to restore millions in funding to the Youth Tobacco Education and Prevention Program.
Musunuru worked closely with state Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey, for the passage and implementation of Florida's $10.1 million Biomedical Research Program.