With FirstMed’s 15-year anniversary of serving the Budapest community just around the corner this coming February, we wanted to take the opportunity to help our readers get to know a bit more about the founder and managing director of the city’s longest serving international medical clinic, Mr. Dennis Diokno.
Born in Westland, Michigan to a very medically oriented family, his father a prominent physician, his mother a former nurse, and sisters working in the pharmaceutical industry, Dennis wound up working in medical services. During his four years at a small college in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where he majored in Economics/Business Administration and German, Dennis, along with 90% of his fellow students, participated in a study abroad program. While experiencing his first taste of overseas life studying German literature in Bonn, Germany there was time to explore Europe. A year later, he focused his educational and business experience with a Master of International Management at one of the world’s top international business schools, Thunderbird School of International Management.
Through some family friends, Dennis found work in post-Soviet Russia, working as an intern at the American Medical Center in Moscow. Within a year he had worked his way up through several promotions culminating in marketing director and operations manager, and has been participating in the healthcare field ever since. Not long after, recruiters brought him to emerging China in 1993 to manage the first western joint-venture clinic, the International Medical Center-Beijing, serving as the first general manager of the clinic.
Mr. Diokno continued his international work by providing consulting services to US companies looking to start projects in China, working with companies like Coastal Physicians Services (NYSE), MEDEX, and a NASDAQ-listed healthcare company which was assessing planning and healthcare projects including a feasibility study in Central Europe for potential clinic sites.
In February 1997, as the president of American Clinics International, Dennis successfully opened FirstMed Centers (formerly known as The American Clinic) in Budapest. Though the initial plans were to provide Family Practice medicine, over time FirstMed evolved into a multi-specialty professional office offering a wide range of specialties, local networks, clinics, diagnostic centers with the primary focus of facilitating better patient care. His goals for the clinic, particularly over the last seven to eight years, have been to maintain and improve the expatriate care model while engaging the Hungarian market. This local market has grown every year due to the declining quality of the local system, flawed by overcrowding, customer service, and a disturbing lack of transparency. FirstMed, however, provides quality care in a timely manner, in a friendly, trustworthy setting.
FirstMed has seen its share of ups and downs in the past 14 ½ years which have not always been easy. “I really think that we have learned from our mistakes and are constantly improving,” he says.
Dennis has high hopes for FirstMed in the upcoming 15 years. Plans to expand, maintain satellite facilities, including a day surgery center for some more invasive procedures, will hopefully come to fruition shortly. It has been quite an exciting journey thus far, and all of us look forward to what is still to come.
Join us over the next 5 months on our countdown to our 15 year anniversary in February 2014!
by Anna Paksy