National association names Dr. de la Rosa as Hispanic Physician of the Year
J. Manuel de la Rosa, MD, was honored by the nation's Latino doctors at the 17th Annual Conference of the National Hispanic Medical Association, which took place April 25-28 in Washington, DC. He was given the “Hispanic Physician of the Year Award.” The honor is presented yearly to an outstanding physician who has played a significant leadership role in impacting the health of Hispanics and the underserved.
Other leaders who also received awards this year were Dr. Gail Christopher and Luz Benitez-Delgado of the Kellogg Foundation, Daniel Suvor of HHS, Chet Burrell of Care First BlueCross BlueShield, former Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez , Dr. Carlos Sanchez , Dr. Ana Maria Lopez , and national and state Hispanic health association leaders.
The National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association representing the interests of over 40,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States. This year’s conference was titled “Strategies to Build Patient-Centered Medical Homes, Curriculum, and Research to Improve the Health of Hispanics.”
A feature of this year's conference was the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which shared with 500 doctors and advocates how to build practices into patient-centered medical homes with new preventive care from teams of doctors and nurses in poor areas that are now considered the most medically underserved in the country.
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June 2012 editorial
Second-year medical student offers his perspective on El Paso
By Michael F. Osborn
I recently wrote an article about the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine’s Internal Medicine Interest Group (IMIG) that was featured in the American College of Physician’s online newsletter IMpact [http://www.acponline.org/medical_students/impact/archives/2012/04/imig/]. Based on this article, I was invited to share in this editorial for Synapse a little bit about me, my experiences with the IMIG and as a medical student in El Paso.
I am originally from Utah where I lived for most of my life. I graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in biology. When I applied to medical school, I applied to over 20 schools because there is only one school in Utah with a fairly small class size, so I wanted to increase my chances of getting accepted. I interviewed at almost every Texas school and at many others throughout the U.S. Paul L. Foster School of Medicine was the first school to offer me an interview. On my flight here, I had a nice conversation with the gentleman next to me who lived in El Paso. When he found out I was interviewing at the medical school, his said, “Well don’t go there, you won’t like El Paso.” His comment was not what I expected; but, it was in line with many other opinions of El Paso I had heard.
When I arrived for my interview, I was very impressed with the hospitality and kindness of the admissions committee, the faculty and staff. I felt welcome and at home. The facilities impressed me and demonstrated the commitment that had been made to providing a quality medical education. Mostly, I was impressed with the curriculum. I felt that the scheme-based curriculum would make learning easier and would help me to become a better doctor. I was also impressed with the Spanish language component of the curriculum and with the opportunity to pursue a joint MD/MPH degree. After my interview, I spent a few hours driving around town and felt that it was a place where my family and I could live. These factors are the ultimate reasons that I chose to attend Paul Foster School of Medicine over other schools, and I am thankful that I made that choice. I feel that in the two years I have been here, I have had more opportunities than I could have ever been afforded at any other institution.
One opportunity I have had is to serve as president of the IMIG. One of the main goals we had for the IMIG this past year was to increase our involvement in the community. The opportunity to assist with the El Paso County Medical Society’s television program, The El Paso Physician, was one way of meeting this goal. [Pictured: IMIG students answering phones for medical society's TV program.] Additionally, we were able to assist in the planning and execution of the annual Paul L. Foster Students United para Nuestra Salud (PLFSUNS) health fair. From these and other experiences, I have gained a better understanding of the El Paso community and health issues that face those who live here. Issues such as language barriers, cost of care and access to care. On one occasion, I was interviewing a patient who only spoke Spanish. I tried my hardest to use what Spanish I have learned to communicate with her. The conversation was choppy, but effective. As we concluded our visit, with a tear in her eye, she thanked me for trying to speak in Spanish and for taking time to talk to her. This touched me deeply and helped me to understand my role as an advocate for her and for all patients.
These experiences have also helped me to understand that we need more physicians throughout the United States and especially here in El Paso. I am often asked if I plan to stay in El Paso once I graduate. Had I been asked two years ago, the answer would have been a resounding, “NO!” But now it is something that I seriously consider. One barrier to being able to stay in El Paso to practice is residency training. I am uncertain as to what medical specialty I want to pursue, but it has become apparent that the opportunities for residency and especially fellowship training in El Paso are limited and that better and more opportunities lie elsewhere. Fortunately, I think this is changing as the opportunities for residency and fellowship training are growing and improving.
In my opinion, in order to have more residency and fellowship opportunities there must be three things: increased research, quality facilities and more community support. The first two are self-explanatory and seem to be moving in the right direction. The third is something I think can and should be improved in our community. In contrast to the conversation I had on my flight here for my interview, when I interviewed at most other schools, everybody I met was excited and told me I would love it there. When I checked in at motels, I was often warmly welcomed and offered a discount just because I was interviewing at the medical school. The chamber of commerce or similar organizations would present about the ‘perks’ for being a medical student or resident in their town, such as a discount tickets to medical trainee night at a baseball, basketball or football game; discounts at zoos, amusement parks and other attractions; student passes for public transportation; and other incentives. Additionally, while driving to my interviews, I often noted billboards, signs and banners celebrating the university’s medical center. These are all things that demonstrated the communities’ support of medical trainees and are all things that the El Paso/border community ought to consider in addition to increasing research and quality facilities in order to attract and retain more residents and ultimately more physicians.
Overall, I feel that El Paso is moving in the right direction when it comes to health care. My initial perceptions of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine and this community have turned out to be accurate. The curriculum has helped make learning the vast amounts of information more attainable and I have continued to feel welcome and at home in El Paso. This is an exciting time for health care in this region, and I am excited to be a part of it!
Michael F. Osborn
Second Year Medical Student
TTUHSC Paul L. Foster School of Medicine
Pictured is Osborn and his family.
Call for Guest Writers
The editor invites guest writers to write a column for Synapse's Editorial Page. If you are a life science or healthcare professional working in the Paso del Norte region and you have something to say or something to share -- please send an email of inquiry to the editor at mcaSynapse@gmail.com, or call (915) 613-2478 ext. 2.
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