Fernando R. Kuehnel '91
2010 Distinguished Alumnus Award for Community Service
Memories of sleeping under makeshift cardboard shelters and surviving on the streets of Manila as a young child brought Fernando R. Kuehnel '91 back to his Filipino roots in recent years to fulfill a promise made. Taken out of his childhood struggles when he was adopted by an American family as a teenager, Kuehnel went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in biology and nursing from Carroll in 1991. He never forgot, however, what it was like to be hungry and scrambling with other young children orphaned in his native Philippines through garbage to find recyclables to sell.
“I’d wake up full of dirt and flies, trying to stay away from the gangs. It was the loneliest time of my life.” As a child one night, he prayed and made a promise that if the good Lord gave him a chance to get out of the situation he would help other children of the world also battling similar conditions in their lives. In 2006, he established a non-profit organization, The House of Kabataan Charity, to help orphan children in Asia, Philippines and South America. He serves as the organization’s president.
Kuehnel has made several visits back to his native home, finding it emotionally difficult to realize that some of the same conditions from which he came still exist today. Through the establishment of the charity and with the growing support of family, friends, and professional colleagues, he has been able to provide a home to more than 160 children providing basic medical support, school supplies, clothing—and importantly, a roof over their head.
After graduation from Carroll, Fernando went on to earn his MBA in healthcare management from Jones International University graduating summa cum laude in 2007. Professionally, Kuehnel has worked at Astellas as a Scientific Affairs Manager in charge of multi-center studies directing 32 medical science liaisons across the country. Before that, he was Clinical Director for the Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Program at the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Medical Center from 1996 to 1999. His experience is in solid transplantation, bone marrow transplants, hematology, immunology and infectious diseases.
Fernando is also the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of a start-up company, Global Healthcare Choice, LLC (www.ghchoice.com), based in Florida, which finds healthcare providers for people who are uninsured or underinsured. He currently works at Roche Pharmaceuticals since 2006 as a transplant specialist. Kuehnel lives in Sunrise, Florida, with his two children, Fernando II and Tyler.