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Dr. Martha Alicia Medrano

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1954

Medical School

University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio



Career Path

Psychiatry: Child and Adolescent
Education: Teaching
Dr. Martha Alicia Medrano


Because it is a privilege to hear patients' life narratives and be a part of their healing process. I also became a psychiatrist to assure that patients with mental illness are treated well and with respect. I always keep in mind that they are someone's father, mother, sister, brother, etc.


Dr. Martha Medrano is a pioneer in medical education who wants to be remembered for her efforts to make medical students more culturally competent. She describes herself as a "community psychiatrist," and is involved in Redes En Acción (Networks in Action), a network that assembles organizations nationwide in a major new initiative to foster cancer prevention, training, and research among Hispanic populations.

Martha Medrano is a second-generation Mexican American, born and raised in El Paso, Texas, the fourth of eight children. She obtained her B.S. in biology from University of Texas at El Paso in 1977, her doctor of medicine degree from University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio in 1981, and a master of public health degree from University of Texas Houston Health Science Center-School of Public Health in 1997.

Dr. Medrano is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics and an assistant professor of both psychiatry and family practice at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. She strives to eliminate language and cultural barriers that inhibit good medical care for the Hispanic community. As director of the Medical Hispanic Center of Excellence, she established the first regional program to mentor Hispanic medical students by matching students with Hispanic physicians, who instruct them in leadership and medical career options. Partnering with the Department of Family Medicine, she created a medical course in Spanish for second-year medical students and a Spanish-speaking-only patient rotation, for senior students. Dr. Medrano also serves as assistant dean of Continuing Medical Education at University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Dr. Medrano is also a principal investigator for a multi-state consortium to develop a strategic plan to increase health care delivery along the U.S.-Mexico border. She serves on the advisory board for the National Hispanic Medical Association and the Minority Women Panel of Experts for the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The National Hispanic Medical Association addresses the interests and concerns of 26,000 licensed physicians and 1,800 full-time Hispanic medical faculty dedicated to teaching medical and health services research. Dr. Medrano also serves as an advisory board member for the National Institutes of Health, Office on Research on Women's Health.

Among her many honors, in 2002, Dr. Medrano was named outstanding alumni, College of Science, University of Texas, and in 1999 was inducted into the San Antonio Women's Hall of Fame. Dr. Medrano lives in San Antonio with her husband.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

I have a mild learning difficulty. I can understand very complicated theories but I have difficulty distinguishing my left from right hand, as well as minor reading difficulty.

How do I make a difference?

I hope that I serve as a role model for those who have had to struggle to achieve their goals. I also hope that those who do achieve their dreams also remember that what is most important is who they are as people. That has been one of my most important life goals.

Who was my mentor?

I had several: Dr. Jack Bristol, Lillian May Berry, and Dr. Miguel Medina. They have all contributed greatly to my career.

How has my career evolved over time?

I enjoy what I do. I am currently heavily involved in administration and program development. I returned to obtain a public health degree because I felt I could contribute more to my community if populations were impacted, not just individual patients.