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, womenespecially Latinaswere 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 medicineto 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.