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Cardiologist Rao Musunuru with CARES President and CEO Jemith Rosa. Musunuru was honored for his charitable work during a Feb. 1 event at Spartan Manor in New Port Richey.

NEW PORT RICHEY – Rao Musunuru’s contributions to the local community are well known throughout Pasco County and the cardiologist’s professional, philanthropic and humanitarian efforts were recognized again earlier this month.

Spartan Manor hosted the CARES 2019 “Celebrating Seniors” event, where Musunuru was honored as the nonprofit organization’s all-time top donor and celebrated for his continued philanthropic work. According to a CARES press release for the event, the Musunuru family has helped raise more than $126,000 for the organization that assists senior residents.

CARES Communications Director Brenda Martyniak wrote that more than 420 guests attended the Feb. 1 event. CARES President and CEO Jemith Rosa provided opening remarks before allowing Robin Schneider, marketing coordinator at Medical Center of Trinity, to summarize Musunuru’s achievements throughout Pasco County. Other speakers included Kathy Fenelon, regional vice president of the American Heart Association and Bob Langford, president of the West Pasco Historical Society.

Musunuru, a founder of the Heart Institute of Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, in Hudson, took to the podium at the end of the event and played a video where he played a character in the style of the movie “Back to the Future.”

The date of the “Celebrating Seniors” event was significant, as well. Feb. 1 has been designated as “Dr. Rao Musunuru Day” by the Pasco County Commission since 2014.

Musunuru is chairman of the board of trustees at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point. He played a key role in transforming the hospital from a 50-bed rural facility into a 290-bed heart institute which received recognition by U.S. News and World Report as one of the top 50 in the nation.

Musunuru’s past honors include being named “National Physician of the Year” by the American Heart Association in 2005. He was a member of the Advisory Council of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institute of Health from 2007-10.

Expenses for the event were sponsored by the Musunuru family and 100 percent of the proceeds will help sustain home care for the elderly, CARES senior enrichment centers, adult day care programs and services that help Pasco County seniors, caregivers and families.