My research aims to enhance healthcare access for Latino older adults, particularly those facing memory challenges due to conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. Employing innovative models in implementation science, health services research, and community-based research, I analyze factors impacting access to Alzheimer’s care. Additionally, I co-design human-centered interventions to surmount barriers and actively involve community members in all stages of the research process.
What is your education/career background?
I am a preventive medicine physician who completed medical school in Venezuela, where the six-year program commences directly after high school. Following medical school, I pursued a Master’s Degree in Clinical Research and completed two years of general surgery residency before specializing in Preventive Medicine.
How have you navigated a career in STEM as a woman/underrepresented minority?
Throughout my STEM journey, I’ve actively pursued leadership roles, contributing to organizations like the National Hispanic Medical Organization. My approach emphasizes mentorship, drawing from my own experiences with remarkable mentors. Now, I strive to support underrepresented students in various stages of their education, being the mentor I sought. Authenticity and adherence to my values have been key, allowing me to navigate my journey on my own terms.
What advice do you have for women/underrepresented groups pursuing an education/career in STEM?
You can achieve it; clarity on your goals and a well-thought-out plan are crucial. Prioritize aspects important to you—family, friends, self-care, grades, and experiences. STEM careers may have varied timelines, but good grades are essential. Focus on meaningful experiences that reveal your passions and the fights worth undertaking. Be authentic, explore what you love, and don’t underestimate the power of perseverance.
What do you enjoy most about your career/current role?
The most fulfilling aspect of my career is the ability to make a difference on my terms. Despite the challenges, finding my unique path has been rewarding. The freedom to set my own direction and align with those who support my vision is priceless.
What does diversity, inclusivity, and equity look like to you in your job sector? How do you incorporate DEI in your position?
In a sector with underrepresentation of Latina physicians, visibility is a crucial contribution (We are only 2.4% of all practicing physicians!!). As a physician-scientist, I bring my whole self to work, sharing my experiences and those of my community. Committed to mentoring underrepresented students, I foster an inclusive community through formal and informal mentorship programs. My research directly addresses health disparities, contributing to a comprehensive understanding of diverse healthcare needs. True DEI requires presence in all spaces.
What is your favorite way to unwind?
My preferred method of unwinding is doom scrolling on social media (sorry, not sorry!) and reading fantasy books. The essence of unwinding lies in disconnecting and allowing the brain and soul to rest. Whatever works for you is worth the investment.