As a bilingual physician and educator, Dr. Flavia Mercado teaches the value of cultural competency. More than sharing a language, cultural competency requires that physicians are aware of cultural differences and treat all patients respectfully, an ideal Mercado instills in every medical student she teaches as well as at the national level.
Flavia Mercado was born in Fort Lewis, Washington in 1962. She earned her undergraduate degree in biology in 1984, and her doctor of medicine degree in 1988 from Atlanta's Emory University School of Medicine. She held an internship at Emory University Affiliated Hospitals, from 1988 to 1989, and completed her pediatric residency at Children's National Medical Center George Washington University in Washington, D.C., from 1989 to 1991. Dr. Mercado was in private practice in Chevy Chase, Maryland from 1991 to 1995 while serving as clinical professor/primary care preceptor at the George Washington University Medical Center, and from 1996 to 2002, she was a pediatrician at Atlanta's Lindbergh Children's Center, the Whiteford Elementary School Clinic, and the Coan Middle School Clinic.
Still early in her career, pediatrician Flavia Mercado, M.D, is already making her mark in the Atlanta medical community by helping to address the disconnect inherent in English-only health-care givers trying to treat non-English-speaking patients in distress. The need in the Atlanta area for doctors and staff who speak Spanish is well evident. Of the 4,449 babies delivered in 2001 at Grady Health System, the state's largest public hospital, more than 50 percent were born to Hispanic mothers. Experience at other facilities has shown that a bilingual staff is more efficient than reliance on interpreters, particularly in emergency departments, where minutes can make a life-sustaining difference. In an article in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Dr. Mercado acknowledged that although "it's likely there will never be enough bilingual staff for the entire system," promoting the idea where possible "is just one way to solve the problem and increase the services."
In 1999, Dr. Mercado was selected for the Leadership Fellowship Program of the National Hispanic Medical Association. She also was elected to serve on the Executive Board of Cool Girls, Incorporated, a mentorship and educational program for young girls from impoverished backgrounds. She serves on the steering committee of the Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia and is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Dr. Mercado is currently associate director of the Department of Multicultural Affairs at Grady Health Systems and is a pediatrician at the Emergency Department of Hughes Spalding Children's Hospital. She is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University School of Medicine, Lindbergh Children's Center.