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Dr. TeresaRamos

Year of Birth / Death

b. 1959

Medical School

University of Illinois College of Medicine



Career Path

Education: Teaching
Internal medicine
Dr. TeresaRamos


I was always interested in the maths and sciences. In addition, my youngest brother had a congenital heart disorder that required heart surgery and a long hospitalization at the age of six months. My parents were very thankful for the care he received and often spoke of the wonderful work the doctors provided. I realized at an early age that medicine was a special field to pursue.


Teresa Ramos is a leading figure in the Hispanic medical community and has worked as a physician, medical director, and health care cultural competency consultant. She was a senior member of the faculty, chief of the Preventive Medicine Section, and director of Adolescent Medicine Health Service at Illinois Masonic Medical Center (IMMC) in Chicago in the 2000s. She was also an assistant professor of Rush Medical College.

Dr. Ramos was born in Jackson, Michigan, the second of five children of migrant workers who moved to Michigan from Texas. She obtained her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois in 1988. She completed her residency in internal medicine at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in San Francisco, California, and earned her M.P.H. degree in Hospital Administration at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Ramos has been an Advisory Committee member of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) since 1995, and has served on the advisory boards of the Medical Education Corporation with Cuba (a program of the American Association for World Health) and the First District of Illinois Health Committee (working with State Representative Sonia Silva). She has also served as a member of the board of the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum of Chicago, and has represented NHMA on the American Medical Association Minority Affairs Consortium Steering Committee.

Question and Answer

What was my biggest obstacle?

My biggest obstacles were being a woman, Latino and from a lower social economic status background. All three of these were equally difficult obstacles. At the time I went into medical school, women—especially Latinas—were definitely the minority. I had to overcome social, gender and racial prejudices and stereotyping. As a child, I was fortunate to observe my father's strong work ethics. As an adult in college and medical school, I was able to apply this learned behavior of dedicated work ethics and jumped over every obstacle with grace.

How do I make a difference?

I serve on several boards and committees at the local and national level. At these positions, I am able to provide input and assure that Latinos and other underserved communities have a voice, are represented and their lives improved.

As an educator in medicine (assistant professor and senior faculty), I am able to influence future doctors and provide them with the necessary tools to provide excellent and culturally competent health care to our diverse populations.

As an administrator (medical director, co-section chief of preventive services and internal medicine), I am able to implement changes at the institution level in attempt to improve health care for our community. In addition, I realize I am in a unique position to be a mentor to other Latinos.

Who was my mentor?

My mentor has been Dr. Elena Rios. Dr. Rios, president and chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Medical Association, has given me the motivation, incentive and direction to be involved in many areas. As the secretary of the board of directors, I have the privilege to work closely with her. She continues to amaze me and confirms that one person can have an impact on the health care system to improve the health of Latinos and other underserved.

How has your career evolved over time?

After my residency training, I did patient care for two or three years. Although I enjoyed this experience, I had the desire to do more in medical education and administration to make an impact on current and future doctors. During the last seven years, I have progressively achieved this desire through hard and demanding work and have become director of internal medicine ambulatory programs, co-section chief of the sections of general internal medicine and preventive medicine, medical director of Internal Medicine Associates, internal medicine faculty and resident practice and assistant professor. Even after all these achievements, I realized the importance of educating myself further and am currently striving toward a masters in public health.

All of these areas have helped my reach my main goal in my career in medicine—to dedicate my work and other involvement to the Latino community to improve Latino Health.

I now have a wonderful family of my own and have taken on another career as a wife and mother. My husband, Pablo, gives me the emotional support and my son, Diego, gives me the desire to continue to improve Latino health for current and future generations.