Caroline (Carol) Lachica Banez is the co-founder and President of SOSA and has been since its inception in 2008. Born in Baguio City, Philippines, Carol attended St. Louis University High School and in 1968 she received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at University of Santo Tomas, (UST), Manila. In January 1969, Carol was one of ten UST nursing graduates recruited as an exchange visitor nurse to work at Mercy Hospital in Chicago, Illinois. After two years, in February 1971, Carol moved to New York and was employed at Albert Einstein College Hospital for five years.
In June 1976, Carol completed her Master of Arts in Nursing at New York University (U.S.A). At the same time, she married her fiance, (Edmundo) and held the wedding in New York with family and friends. Then her husband sponsored her to finally relocate to Toronto in August 1976.
In June 1999, Carol graduated with Honours and was granted a Multidisciplinary Certificate of Gerontology after attending a two-year post graduate Gerontology Program at Centennial College. Then in 2006, she completed the University Health Network Rotman Leadership Development Program at the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management.
Her professional career is underscored by 13 years as an Administrative Nursing Supervisor at Women's College Hospital, Toronto East General Hospital, and Doctors Hospital; 5 years at Albert Einstein College Hospital in Bronx NY; and 25 years as a Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS) at Toronto Western Hospital. As a CNS, her expertise focused in developing programs and conducting research studies on seniors wellness and falls prevention, as well as consulting in wound care management and on diverse geriatric issues.
Throughout her career, Carol has published several peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and also presented the results of her research at various health conferences within Canada, United States, Japan, China, and Australia. Carol has been actively involved in serving her community, with the bulk of her work having supported Filipino seniors. In 1992, she co-founded the Filipino Nurses Association in Toronto and served as President for two years. Later on, Carol then became the President of the Philippine Heritage Band (PHB), a non-profit, charitable, marching band for 25 years. Carol is actively involved in her church, where she serves as lector and has done so for 33 years to present. Throughout her work, Carol has advocated for the needs of older people and her dedication to Filipino seniors is demonstrated through her mentorship, collaboration and transparency. Carol received the “Outstanding Filipino Canadian Senior of the Year” award for her invaluable contributions to the Filipino Canadian community from the Filipino Centre in April 2019.
Carol received a prestigious award for her outstanding contribution to research and education in geriatric medicine (For more information, see Esther and Saul Baker Award from the University Health Network in 2010).