Dr. Genesis Rivera: A journey completed, a life well lived

Dr. Genesis Rivera, the late dean of the New Era University College of Medicine. (Photo courtesy New Era University)


His passion and dedication in medicine and music is well-known.

Dr. Genesis Rivera, 75, who was the first dean of the New Era University’s College of Music and who served as dean of the NEU College of Medicine before his demise, contributed much in both fields which he loved dearly.

He dedicated his life using his God-given talents to serve God and to help others, and is fondly remembered by those whose lives he had touched and inspired. Moreover, the church music he played as part of his “tungkulin” or church duty as an officer of the Iglesia Ni Cristo or Church Of Christ had moved and inspired many, including non-INC members.

The Association of Philippine Medical Colleges, Inc. (APMCI) described Dr. Rivera as a “pillar of pediatric education” and a “leading pediatric teacher, advocate and accreditor of pediatric residency and fellowship training in the Philippines.”

Dr. Madeline Grace M. Sosa, president of APMCI, wrote NEU President Dr. Nilo Rosas on Oct. 2, extending their sincere condolences on the demise of Dr. Rivera on behalf of the Board of Trustees and the member schools of APMCI.

“This sad event is a big loss to the medical association as well as pediatric training,” she said.

“We also appreciate his accomplishments in the church activities of the Iglesia Ni Cristo particularly in the sacred music ministry,” Dr. Sosa noted.

The Philippine Pediatric Society also issued a tribute deeply mourning the loss of Dr. Rivera who served as its president from 2010 to 2012.

-Achievements –

Dr. Rivera stood out in the field of medicine for his achievements. He had in fact authored books, including several textbook editions and manuals on pediatrics and health, and a pediatric drug handbook published by Philippine Pediatric Society.

He also authored research articles on various pediatric journals, the latest of which was an article on preventing influenza amid the pandemic.

He was also a member of the Ethics Committee of the Philippine Children’s Medical Center where he also served as honorary consultant. He was also a member of both the Hospital Accreditation Board and Advisory Board of the Philippine Pediatric Society.

He became the NEU College of Medicine dean this June after serving as the Executive Director of the NEU Center for Medical and Allied Health Sciences for several years. He was also the founding dean of the NEU College of Medicine in 2014.

Dr. Rivera was also a full professor of Pediatrics and Medical Humanities at the NEU College of Medicine, and also a professor of Musicology, Organ and Piano at the NEU College of Music.

Before this, he had served as the Department Manager of the Training and Research Program Implementation at the Philippine Children’s Medical Center from 2008 to 2011, and the Director for Training and Research at the Dr. Fe del Mundo Medical Center from 1999 to 2003. He was the head of the Poison Center of the same hospital from 1986 to 2003, and afterwards served as chair or the Residency and Fellowship Training Committee (2004 to 2008)

Dr. Rivera had also served as member of the Board of Trustees of the Philippine Ambulatory Pediatric Association, from 2008 to 2010, and was the Temporary Adviser for the Regional Office for the Western Pacific, of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2010. He had also served as a member of the Executive Council of the Philippine National Formulary of the Department of Health (DOH).

He received many awards, including the following:
• Most Outstanding Alumnus in Leadership, FEU-Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation, January 20, 2016
• Most Outstanding Alumnus in the Field of Medicine, FEU’s 85th Founding Anniversary Celebration, January 28, 2013
• Most Outstanding Alumnus- Leadership and Excellence Award, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, April 29, 2010
• Most Outstanding Junior Faculty (Samuel Green Award). FEU-NRMF, April 9, 1985
• Most Outstanding Faculty, Department of Pharmacology, FEU-NRMF, April, 1983
• Most Outstanding Faculty, Basic Category, FEU-NRMF. December 15, 1978
• Academic Leadership Award New Era University, June 15, 2012
• Leadership Award, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City ,October, 22. 2010
• One of the Top Ten Trainers, Philippine Children’s Medical Center, 2000, 2002, 2004

Dr. Rivera was also an Emeritus Fellow at Philippine Pediatric Society, and a Fellow of the Philippine Society for Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in 1986, and of the Philippine Society of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology in 1987.

He was a member of American Academy of Clinical Toxicology in 1986. Prior to that, he had Postgraduate Training in Clinical Toxicology at the Children’s Hospital of Boston and Harvard Medical School in 1983.

Dr. Rivera took up medicine at the Far Eastern University where he graduated in 1973, after completing a Bachelor of Science degree in UP Diliman in 1969.

-Love for music-

But before medicine, his first love and passion was music.

In fact, Dr. Rivera got a Teacher’s Diploma in Piano from U.P. Diliman in 1966, on his first year in UP.

And after almost four decades, when “Doc Gen,” as he is fondly called, was already a known medical expert, he returned to UP Diliman’s College of Music for a degree in Music major in Choral Conducting which he completed in 2002.

That same year he became a member of the American Music Therapy Association. He also served as member of the American Guild of Organists in 2012 and a member of the Organ Historical Society that same year.

-Serving God through music-

These musical talents he used in serving and giving glory to God as he fulfilled his church duties as a choir member and organist of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC).

Dr. Rivera was the INC church organist who first played the majestic one of a kind custom-made pipe organ (made by the A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company based in Georgia) at the INC Central Temple on July 5, 2014, in a special worship service officiated by INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, three weeks before the INC Centennial.

In an interview after the worship service in July 2014, Dr. Rivera then had expressed how it was a great blessing for him to be the very first church organist to play the special 20-ton pipe organ in that worship service.
Fulfilling his church duty so he could serve and worship God was in fact the most important thing for him. And Doc Gen, honed this talent so he could play these beautiful church hymns to give glory to God.

Many had a glimpse of this and heard how Dr. Rivera wonderfully played the church organ in videos uploaded by Johannus, a renowned maker of church organs.

Dr. Genesis Rivera playing one of the church hymns of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) on a beautiful three-manual, custom built, Johannus Monarke church organ, inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo House of Worship, Local Congregation of Binondo, Manila, Philippines. (Screenshot of one of the videos uploaded by Johannus church organs on its YouTube page/Courtesy Johannus)

These uploaded videos featured Dr. Rivera playing several INC church music pieces using the Johannus church organ while also showing the beautiful interior of various INC buildings or houses of worship. The videos showed not just the beauty of INC worship buildings, but also the beauty of its church music.

Indeed, these videos with Doc Gen playing the church organ had inspired and moved many, even non-INC members, as the music transcended boundaries, stirring the soul.

On Oct. 2, 2021, Dr. Genesis Rivera had finished the race, his journey in life, serving God until the end.

(Eagle News Service)