Four times a year, Dr. Cecilia Romero teaches a class in Spanish at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas. Over the past eight years, she has helped more than five hundred young doctors better serve their Hispanic patients. Dr. Romero's commitment to this course is just one way she helps to improve the health of the Hispanic community, and sees herself as an advocate for "all levels of underrepresented minorities."
Cecelia Miera was born in Provo, Utah, in 1947. Knowing from her early teens that she wanted to become a doctor, she recalled that her biggest obstacle was simply "getting an application to medical schoolI didn't realize my name was a deterrent!" She married William Romero after college, and had three children while attending the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque. When she graduated in 1974, she remained at the university for a residency in family practice, and then went into private practice in her home town of Penasco, New Mexico, where her fourth child was born.
After nine years in private practice Dr. Romero decided that her commitment to the Hispanic community would be best served in an academic environment, so she joined the faculty of the University of Nevada School of Medicine as an assistant professor of family medicine. By the time she left in 1995 she had served as vice chair and residency director of the Department of Family and Community Medicine. Since 1994, Dr. Romero has been associate professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) Department of Family Medicine, serving two interim terms as assistant dean and one year as associate dean for student affairs and admissions.
Dr. Romero describes herself as an "advocate for increasing numbers of Hispanics in medical schools, faculty and administrations, as well as being a constant reminder of the need to address health disparities."She is co-chair of the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine's Group on Minority Affairs, and serves on the Biomedicino editorial board. A current member of the Hispanic Center of Excellence Border Health Consortium, from 2000 to 2001 Dr. Romero directed the University of Texas Medical Branch Hispanic Center of Excellence, which is funded by the Health Resources Services Administration. At UTMB, Dr. Romero chairs the Core Committee for Support of Underrepresented Ethnic/Racial Minorities, and has served on the Minority Faculty Council since 1994. In addition to advising and mentoring approximately sixteen medical students and residents each year, Dr. Romero is the faculty advisor for the United Latin American Association of Medical Students and for the Frontera De Salad, a student-run volunteer group. Dr. Romero has also served on the board of directors of the St. Vincent's House Free Clinic and as a member of the Sacred Heart Health Ministry. In 1997, Dr. Romero received the UTMB Harris L. Kempner Award in recognition of outstanding efforts to recruit retain and advise medical students in underrepresented groups.
Dr. Romero is a frequent speaker on medical education curriculum, minority physician recruitment, and cultural sensitivity in medical care.