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Dr. Amneris E. Luque





Year of Birth / Death

b. 1953


Medical School

Universidad de Carabobo


Geography

LOCATION
New York


Career Path

Internal medicine
Education: Teaching
Dr. Amneris E. Luque



Inspiration

I was always fascinated with science. As a youngster, I had a very curious mind and always wanted to find answers. The functioning of the human body intrigued me, understanding this was very rewarding to me. Later on with the first contact with patients, the ability to change a person's life became one of my true goals.



Biography

Dr. Amneris Luque hopes to make a difference for her Hispanic patients by advocating legislation that will give them better access to health care. In 2002, when she was given the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute Dr. Linda Lauberstein HIV Clinical Excellence Award, she was described as "an outstanding, compassionate HIV/AIDS practitioner... recognized among her colleagues as a consummate clinician and as a role model for setting standards of excellence in the provision of direct patient care."

Amneris Luque was born in Caracas, Venezuela, in 1953. From an early age she was curious and intrigued by science. After earning her bachelor of science degree from Colegio Santo Angel de la Guarda in 1970, She received her medical degree from the Universidad de Carabobo in Valencia, Venezuela, in 1976. She then completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Vargas Hospital-Universidad Central de Venezuela, in Caracas, and a fellowship in infectious diseases at State University of New York at Stony Brook, from 1982 to 1983.

Dr. Luque taught in the departments of Medicine and Oncology at the Universidad de Carabobo, from 1986 to 1988 and was an attending physician in Internal Medicine-Infectious Diseases at the Instituto de Oncologia in Valencia, Venezuela. Dr. Luque has taught at the University of Rochester School of Medicine in New York since 1989, where she is currently an assistant professor of medicine. Dr. Luque also serves as medical director at the Strong Memorial Hospital AIDS Center.

Dr. Luque is firmly dedicated to the rapidly changing field of researching and managing HIV infection, particularly in women. Luque has been a member of the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute's Medical Care Criteria Committee (MCCC) since 1996 and was elected vice-chair in July 2001. This committee, composed of recognized experts in clinical HIV care, is charged with the responsibility for development of standards of medical care for adults and adolescents exposed to, or infected with, HIV. Dr. Luque is said to have a talent for translating new developments into practical guidance and has been a major contributor to the guidelines for adults.

As chair of the Committee for the Care of Women with HIV Infection of the Department of Health, New York State AIDS Institute since 2001, Luque has made numerous presentations about managing the care of women with HIV and hopes to make antiretroviral drug therapy more widely available.

Since 1997, she has also served as a mentor and preceptor for several AIDS scholars in the AIDS Institute's Nicholas A. Rango HIV Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Luque has been on the Advisory Committee since 1999. The Visiting Nurse Service in Rochester named Luque Distinguished Physician of the Year in 1995, and she was awarded a leadership fellowship by the National Hispanic Medical Association in 2000, which gave her a new perspective on the politics of health care and the possibility of changing lives through legislation.

Dr. Luque has raised two sons and, like many women professionals, has had to strive to balance her professional and family responsibilities.



Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

It was frustrating for me to see gender-driven disparity in the medical profession. Being a woman placed you at a disadvantage with your male colleagues, but that didn't stop me from doing what I wanted to do or prevent me from putting forth the best effort to achieve my goals. At the beginning of my career as an infectious disease physician it was harder for me to balance my professional responsibilities with those of my family. I elected to work part time after my fellowship when my two sons were in their preschool age. Like many other professional women who work outside their homes, and have small children, I was constantly on the run; from dropping and picking up my sons at day care at the end of my working day to facing what seemed to be "paramount decisions" over dinner, to choices about being a home mom. I felt like I was constantly playing the "catch up" game. But although it felt hard at times and slowed my career a bit I think that this was the best decision for my family.

How do I make a difference?

I believe I make a difference by listening to people. I try very hard at every encounter to listen to patients carefully so that I understand their goals for the visit and all their concerns are addressed effectively.

Who was my mentor?

I have had four great mentors. Two during medical school training in Venezuela, Drs. Efrain Sukerman and Ana Mago who guided me and instilled a passion for internal medicine. Since my arrival in this country, Drs. Roy Steigbigel and Richard Reichman, have been very great mentors. They shaped my career guiding me with their sound advice about the specialty and motivating me to pursue goals in clinical research.

How has my career evolved over time?

My career has evolved greatly thanks to the opportunities found in this country. I have been in a top academic center, which has maintained my motivation to achieve higher goals, both in clinical practice and research, affording me great professional growth.

Besides my medical practice, my medical degree has provided me with the opportunity to view health care from a "political stand point." My participation in the National Hispanic Medical Association Fellowship allowed me to see first hand how policy-making health care decisions are made, which was an eye-opener. It was enlightening to realize that you have the power to alter legislation, which eventually could affect people's lives.