My dad and abuelito have always humbled me. They're always astounded by the fact that people like us, with Latinx immigrant roots, have been able to make it to my position. My parents are from a rural village in Mexico where education was only for the rich, not the working villager. My parents came to this country to find a better life for their family and I have worked hard to make sure their efforts do not go unnoticed.
It was hard navigating the system without family members to ask for help. I was lucky to find invaluable mentors through my journey that helped lift me to where I am today. It takes a village to make it in medicine. With the era of social media, it's incredible seeing how active some medical students and physicians are in providing mentorship to students trying to get into the healthcare field. There are very few Latinx in medicine, and it's always been great to have that connection with a healthcare provider. I feel like they've understood me and my needs sometimes at a different level. Use them to your advantage. They are willing to help, you just have to have the courage to ask for advice.
Being on the health-team end, I have enjoyed seeing that "ahh" moment with patients. Those sighs of relief knowing someone speaks their language and will be better understood. There have been too many times patients come for follow ups and told to do things, but never know why nor the importance of making changes. When I see them in follow up appointments with improved outcomes, I think of that small contribution I made. It's those brief moments that keep me going during those days that I have a hard time picking up a book to study.
Written by: Victor H. Rodríguez, MPH
MD Candidate, 2021
College of Medicine | Texas A&M University