To celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Endocrine News spoke to an array of our U.S.-based Hispanic members to get their colorful insights on their careers, accomplishments, challenges, and what advice they have for young Hispanic endocrinologists just starting out.
In the U.S., Hispanic Heritage Month takes place in the from September 15 to October 15 and serves to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
First observed in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15, and was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.
September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30-day period.
Endocrine News wanted to speak to some of the Hispanic members of the Endocrine Society who have made so many valuable contributions to the science and practice of endocrinology, as well as to the progress and success of the Endocrine Society itself. In planning this issue and this article, however, it became obvious very quickly than one issue per year will in no way adequately cover the breadth of contributions by our members who belong to the Hispanic community.
Those members who spoke with us are: Rocio Pereira, MD, chief of endocrinology, Denver Health and associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Aurora; Licy L. Yanes Cardozo, MD, a practicing endocrinologist and physician-scientist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson; Rodolfo J. Galindo, MD, associate professor of medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; director, Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Lennar Medical Center, University of Miami Health System; director, Diabetes Management, Jackson Memorial Health System, Miami, Fla.; Ricardo Correa MD, EdD, fellowship director, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; director, Health Equity and Inclusive Initiatives; director, DEI, Mentoring and Belonging; director, Longitudinal Didactics, Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute; Cleveland Clinic; Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio; Lina Huerta-Saenz, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Pediatrics, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa.; Henry H. Ruiz, PhD, research assistant professor, NYU School of Medicine, Diabetes Research Program, New York, N.Y.; and Sandra Rubio, MD, FEAA, Kingman Regional Medical Center Endocrinology, Kingman, Ariz.; president, board of directors, Western Endocrine Association.
First off, why did you choose the field of endocrinology?
Pereira: As a first-year medical student, I was assigned to work in a community clinic with a large representation of Latino patients. There, I learned about the health disparities affecting Latino adults, including higher rates of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and other obesity-related diseases. As a Latina immigrant myself, I felt compelled to work to eliminate the disparities I observed. For a time, I considered being an internal medicine primary care physician. However, I had enjoyed doing research as a research assistant prior to medical school, and ultimately decided to complete an endocrinology clinical and research fellowship and to become a clinician and clinician researcher focused on addressing disparities in diabetes.
Cardozo: I came to the U.S. in 2002 for a postdoctoral fellowship from Paraguay. I spent several years dedicated to basic research studying the role of sex steroids in blood pressure regulation under Jane Reckelhoff, PhD’s mentorship. Since then, I have been fascinated by the powerful effect of hormones. Then, during the internal medicine residency, I had two mentors whose knowledge of endocrinology was mesmerizing: Angela R. Subauste, MD, and William Nicholas, MD. Their passion for clinical endocrinology was contagious. I was very attracted to the complexity of endocrine cases and the opportunity to create long-term relations with my patients. I could not choose a better to serve.
Galindo: Choosing a medical specialty as a medical student could be challenging, but the decision was simple after completing my physiology classes and rotating with the endocrine service. For many specialties, it was about memorizing fact over facts. In endocrinology, it was understanding mechanisms, physiologic responses, or over-functioning or under-functioning of a hormonal system, with end-organ symptoms. For someone like me with pragmatic thinking, it made sense to choose a specialty that could make sense — and was fun.
Correa: Endocrinology is the perfect area to combine research, education, and clinical. Hormones are the way the cell communicates with each other. Understanding these pathways will help us understand every single disease. I chose endocrinology because I wanted to be in an area that can contribute to changes in science and medicine. The perfect fit for me was endocrinology.
“Being Hispanic and practicing in the mainland U.S. has made me get out of my comfort zone. We bring not only a common language but similar customs and culture. I can relate to my patients in more ways and that helps me connect with them.”Sandra Rubio, MD, FEAA, Kingman Regional Medical Center Endocrinology, Kingman, Ariz.; president, board of directors, Western Endocrine Association
Huerta-Saenz: I chose endocrinology because it is a medical specialty that allows the integration of basic science, clinical science, translational science, and public health. Additionally, while modern clinical practice requires an interdisciplinary approach, the chronic nature of many endocrine conditions allows me to build long-term relationships with my young patients and their families. As a pediatric endocrinologist, I focus most of my clinical and educational efforts on the parents first, and as my patients grow and get more independent with their treatments, I gradually switch gears and work closer to them.
Ruiz: I initially chose neuroscience as my primary research focus, with a particular interest in neuropsychological disorders, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD). As I progressed, my fascination with endocrinology blossomed. This passion was ignited through my exploration of the connection between AD and metabolic dysregulation, and later extended to investigating how adipose tissue-derived lipid flux contributes to both non-alcoholic and alcoholic fatty liver disease. Notably, this flux is intricately governed by the brain through regulation of the sympathetic nervous system tone. This journey has led me full circle, inspiring me to aim to establish a research program dedicated to unraveling the intricate mechanisms through which the brain orchestrates metabolic processes such as glucose and lipid metabolism.
Rubio: My interest in endocrinology started in my first year of internal medicine residency. One of my attendings, Leonid Poretsky, MD, was an endocrinologist and I really enjoyed his approach to medicine. I took an endocrinology elective in my second year and that was it; I was hooked! I really loved it and thought that I could make a career in this field.
What is one of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your career?
Pereira: Though being a Latina has sometimes been a challenge in my career (people often underestimate people who look like me), a much bigger challenge has been balancing work and family life as a professional woman. I have been fortunate to have great support from my husband, kids, extended family, and my workplace. However, it has taken me a long time to feel that I am doing enough on both the professional and personal fronts.
Cardozo: There have been two major challenges in my career. One is the language. It is easier to express one’s emotions and feelings in your native language, which, in my case, is Spanish. English was a significant challenge for me initially, as I was very insecure about my accent. Now, after many years in clinical practice, I feel very comfortable carrying on conversations about medicine or my research in English. However, if you ask me about my life, what I like, or my family, I prefer to talk in Spanish. The second challenge is to be away from my family, especially my mom. It would be impossible to describe in words how hard this is.
Galindo: The biggest challenge in our healthcare system nowadays is to maintain motivation and energy, despite growing difficulties for clinicians and patients. We had a difficult time during the pandemic that strained our system and created more barriers, particularly for minorities. As clinicians, we put our energy and dedication into our patients, and the system’s barriers create more steps for our patients to get better. With ongoing support from our professional organizations such as Endocrine Society, we continue to advocate for improved access to care and further scientific innovation. But there is still some work ahead.
Correa: The biggest challenge in my career has been deciding what I want to do for my future. I started with a very heavy research focus but then I switched to include health equity. It was very difficult to let my primary focus go, but it was very rewarding to see that decreasing disparities has a bigger impact on what I want to do.
“I frequently question whether the findings presented by any speaker will hold relevance for individuals who share my cultural and ethnic background. When a solution is discovered for a particular disease, I ponder its applicability to us. Given the rising prevalence of obesity and diabetes among Hispanics, these questions become even more poignant.”Henry H. Ruiz, PhD, research assistant professor, NYU School of Medicine, Diabetes Research Program, New York, N.Y.
Huerta-Saenz: As an international medical graduate and the first person in my family who moved to the United States to pursue a residency and research career in 2008, I needed to learn many things from zero. My primary language is not English, therefore mastering my communication skills was my first challenge. After that, I needed to understand the steps required to develop a successful academic and research career as an early-stage physician-scientist.
Learning is a lifelong process, and my achievements could not have been possible without the generous advice and support of talented amazing mentors and advisors. My junior research career has not been easy, partly because I was naïve to the academic life in the United States. Due to other challenges related to my visa status (a few years of a national interest waiver requirement to qualify for higher research time). Thanks to the junior faculty and early-stage investigator programs available at amazing organizations such as the Endocrine Society, the PRIDE Cardiovascular Disease-Genetics Epidemiology program from the NHLBI, the Network of Minority Research Investigators (NMRI) from the NIDDK, and my current institution, Pennsylvania State University, I was finally able to move forward with my research career dream and goals.
Ruiz: The most significant challenge I have encountered in my career is the consistent need to demonstrate to others that the education and scientific foundation I received during my training at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY) is on par with that attained by individuals from institutions with prominent name recognition. I am confident that no colleague acquainted with my scientific contributions would question the quality of my work or my capacity to formulate impactful scientific inquiries. For these reasons, I take great pride in representing and advocating for my Alma Mater. The time has come for scientific reputation to transcend mere name recognition, and for public institutions excelling in preparing the next generation of scientists to be acknowledged for their endeavors.
Rubio: One of the biggest challenges during my career has been access to care for our patients. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough endocrinologists to meet the demands. I have been able to work with excellent APPs over the years to help bridge the gap.
What are your biggest concerns when it comes to treating Hispanic patients?
Pereira: Hispanic communities in the U.S. are not a monolith, and the health barriers they face are not all the same. Where I practice, a common barrier our local Hispanic communities face is lack of health insurance which makes some medications unaffordable. This lack of access results in widening health disparities, particularly in obesity and type 2 diabetes where new classes of medications and advanced technologies are quickly becoming standard of care. Our inability to meet standards of care in the healthcare of Hispanic patients translates to higher rates of chronic disease and higher mortality. Higher disease and mortality, in turn lead to worsening social determinants of health including loss of family income, food and housing insecurity, lack of educational opportunities, etc. By not addressing healthcare access, we are perpetuating health and social inequities.
Cardozo: The limited resources that they have to stay healthy and battle diseases. They come to this country seeking opportunities for a better life to provide for their families and to pursue their dreams. In the U.S., they work hard, and because access to healthcare is complicated, health-related issues are not their priority. They are resilient and can mask their diseases well until they get very sick. The other one is the lack of sound scientific information. The Hispanic community has many information sources, many of which are misleading when related to health.
Galindo: Hispanics are a large ethnic group in the U.S. with a large imprint in our culture and economy. However, they are disproportionately affected by a higher prevalence of chronic disease, such as diabetes and obesity. While Hispanics may have some genetic predisposition for some conditions, the main issue is access to better nutrition, physical activity, and good medical care. It’s not having insurance (vs. being uninsured). For many of our Hispanics patients the issue is limited access to good medical care from being underinsured or having difficulty navigating the complex healthcare systems. In addition, the system is not adapted to provide culturally appropriate care, which goes beyond being able to provide Spanish language interpreters.
Correa: We need clinicians who understand not only the language, but also the culture of Hispanic patients. Many of the Latin patients don’t ask anything and just follow the recommendations of the doctor, but not knowing why. It is very important that the clinician understands this reality and starts talking with the patient even though the patient won’t ask questions. This is where cultural competency and shared decision making are important.
“Be resilient when rejections come and things are not going well, but overall, pursue what gives you daily happiness. In my case, even though my clinical load and research projects are hard work, the happy and spontaneous smiles of my young patients truly make my day, no matter what.”Lina Huerta-Saenz, MD, FAAP, assistant professor of pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology and Diabetes, Department of Pediatrics, Penn State Health Children’s Hospital, Penn State College of Medicine, Hershey, Pa.
Huerta-Saenz: I have frequently noticed biases in the care of my Hispanic patients, which show up in different settings. For instance, from the perspective of the providers, a patient with a language barrier always takes longer in a clinical appointment. Therefore, if no extra time is scheduled for a patient with a language barrier, many providers can feel overwhelmed with the care of a patient who is a non-English speaker. Different languages and cultural backgrounds between the healthcare provider and the Hispanic community can make a significantly impact.
In endocrinology, an important part of our daily work is understanding the traditions, habits, and culture of our patients to customize some aspects of our education plan. Providing education related to healthy eating, physical activity, and healthy lifestyle options is needed for many endocrine conditions such as diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, dyslipidemia, etc. Therefore, our clinical work is closely related to traditions, personal styles, and culture. It is crucial to understand and respect the culture and traditions of our patients to be able to establish a good relationship with them and to customize some aspects of patient education.
What has been one of your biggest notable successes that has defined your professional role?
Pereira: One of the things I am most proud of is a community-based lifestyle intervention program I created in partnership with a local community organization. Ten years ago, I got funding from a local foundation to set up the National Diabetes Prevention Program for Spanish speakers. The program has had continuous funding since then, and has grown to include health screening services, a self-monitored blood pressure control program, and a diabetes self-management program. To date, we have enrolled more than 3,000 participants and connected over1,000 patients to healthcare, leading to improved health outcomes for countless participants and their family members.
Cardozo: As a physician-scientist and practicing endocrinologist, I have a career I never dreamed of. I want to leave a legacy of hard work, honesty, and joy in medicine. I am very proud when I open my lab door every morning. I am very proud of my trainees, especially when they are awarded or recognized for their research. Finally, I am very proud of being a mom, and my two daughters are my primary inspiration, strength, and energy source. Without them, nothing will make significant sense. Raising a family and working is still very challenging for women.
Galindo: I have been fortunate to have dedicated mentors, such as Dr. Guillermo Umpierrez, who value my efforts and dedication. By having that, I could be working anytime and being extremely happy. I truly enjoy what I do, focusing on integrating my questions from caring for my patients into my clinical research program. It’s fascinating to be able to find better ways to treat your patients. I am lucky to be able to do that, and it’s mostly because of the great mentorship I have received.
Correa: My biggest success has been becoming director for health equity for an endocrinology institute. Getting to spread the word of what health equity means and how an organization can embrace this concept has been a challenge but also a success. Establishing projects that help the Latinx population in different parts of the country is something that I am very proud of.
“We need clinicians who understand not only the language, but also the culture of Hispanic patients. Many of the Latin patients don’t ask anything and just follow the recommendations of the doctor, but not knowing why. It is very important that the clinician understands this reality and starts talking with the patient even though the patient won’t ask questions. This is where cultural competency and shared decision making are important.”Ricardo Correa MD, EdD, fellowship director, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism; director, Health Equity and Inclusive Initiatives; director, DEI, Mentoring and Belonging; director, Longitudinal Didactics, Endocrinology and Metabolism Institute; Cleveland Clinic; Lerner College of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
Huerta-Saenz: For sure, my research career achievements. I moved to the United States with a dream to build a career as a physician-scientist. My first research award during the pediatrics residency provided me with the confidence to follow my ideas as these ones reflected my creativity, innovation, and critical thought process.
In 2014, I received one of the abstract research awards from the Endocrine Society for in-training fellows provided to fellows whose research was related to type 1 diabetes. Then, in 2022, after a long period of clinical work, I obtained a KL2 award from Penn State, which funded the protected research time I currently have and has positively changed the course of my research career.
Ruiz: Successfully obtaining a prestigious career development award from the National Institute of Health (NIH) was a defining moment in my career because it provided me with validation that I possess the scientific repertoire necessary to effectively support an independent research program.
Rubio: Seeing improved patient outcomes and their quality of life has been very rewarding and motivating in my career. We now have so much technology and new treatment options to offer our patients. I especially enjoyed starting telemedicine services for our patients living in rural communities much before the pandemic.
Does being Hispanic bring with it any unique insights for your work?
Pereira: My experiences as a bi-racial (half Japanese) Latina immigrant shape the way I see the world and have made me aware of the inequalities, bias, and racism that still impact many ethnic/racial communities in the U.S. and the world. As specialty clinicians, consultants, and researchers, we are proud to provide excellent endocrine care to our patients, useful guidance to our peers, and exciting new discoveries and medical advances in contribution to society. I believe that we also all have a role to play in making society more equitable and ensuring the benefits of excellent healthcare and research advances reach all people and not just those from privileged groups.
Cardozo: Absolutely. Latin culture has so much to offer medicine. We are wired to work in a team and to solve problems in a fast and effective way. We also have this capacity to bounce back quickly after defeats. We want to help, comfort, and give hugs, which is part of medicine vital for healing.
Correa: Yes, having a deep understanding of the culture helps me plan projects for the community that helps them directly. Being recognized by the community that I served also helped my work because I have become a trusted source for them. In addition, talking to the patients in the same language facilitates every process.
“For many of our Hispanics patients the issue is limited access to good medical care from being underinsured or having difficulty navigating the complex healthcare systems. In addition, the system is not adapted to provide culturally appropriate care, which goes beyond being able to provide Spanish language interpreters.”Rodolfo J. Galindo, MD, associate professor of medicine, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; director, Comprehensive Diabetes Center, Lennar Medical Center, University of Miami Health System; director, Diabetes Management, Jackson Memorial Health System, Miami, Fla.
Huerta-Saenz: Absolutely. I am a multiracial Hispanic physician from Peru, and since I was little, I have been exposed to different cultures: Asian (I was educated in a Peruvian-Japanese high school), African (we do have many Peruvians with African ancestry roots, and our music and food have been enriched with some of these traditions), and Native South American (I am Quechua descendent. Quechuas is one of the original people of South America).
During medical school, I also had the opportunity to represent my medical school at the scientific meeting of the Latin American Federation of Medical Students, where I worked with other medical students from the region and understood better our similarities and heterogeneous roots, styles and traditions. We care about family, we strongly support each other, and we are very resilient.
I strongly believe my Hispanic background allows me to bring a unique perspective into the daily care of my patients, as well as a unique perspective to our daily clinical work.
Ruiz: Yes, it does. Perspective, for instance. I often find myself as the only Hispanic in the room or occasionally, one of the few. Consequently, I frequently question whether the findings presented by any speaker will hold relevance for individuals who share my cultural and ethnic background. When a solution is discovered for a particular disease, I ponder its applicability to us. Given the rising prevalence of obesity and diabetes among Hispanics, these questions become even more poignant. I aspire to eventually collaborate with institutions based in Latin countries, aiming to share my expertise and address these concerns.
Rubio: Being Hispanic and practicing in the mainland U.S. has made me get out of my comfort zone. We bring not only a common language but similar customs and culture. I can relate to my patients in more ways and that helps me connect with them.
What role has the Endocrine Society played in your career?
Pereira: The Endocrine Society has been my professional home since I joined as a trainee nearly 20 years ago and has played a pivotal role in my career. As a junior faculty member, I was selected to serve on the Minority Affairs Committee (MAC) where I served two terms and subsequently became committee chair. As MAC chair, I participated in the Endocrine Society’s diversity strategic planning and implementation, including the transition of the MAC to the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion (CODI). Three years ago, I was selected to serve as director for the Excellence in Clinical Endocrinology Leadership program, and for the past two years, I have served on the Endocrine Society’s Board of Directors. These experiences have helped me develop as a leader and advance in my career and have given me the opportunity to build a strong network of colleagues, mentors, and friends.
Cardozo: The Endocrine Society is my scientific familia (family). To me, one of the most essential roles of a Society is to amplify our voice to make a positive impact in someone’s life. The Endocrine Society shares my values, love for science, and love for the community. Over the years, I have met many inspiring leaders in the field through the Endocrine Society. I also stay up to date with the latest information about endocrine disorders or discoveries. It is part of my support system, my village.
Galindo: The Endocrine Society is the oldest professional association in our country, with a strong tradition of improving patient care, research, and education to advance the hormone field. As a member, I have received support in all those areas since I was a trainee and continue to do so now as a dedicated clinician. I was very fortunate to receive the FLARE award as a fellow, which supported my training and helped me establish my mentor-mentee relationship. Since then, it’s been a very gratifying and productive career.
Correa: A major one. The Endocrine Society has been part of my career since residency. I was part of the FLARE program where I found amazing mentors that have guided me in the research arena and as part of my professional growth. Being part of different committees from Publications to Special Interest Group — Pituitary and Adrenal — as well as the Clinical Affairs Core Committee has helped me to better understand our profession and to contribute to the endocrine community in many ways.
“Latin culture has so much to offer medicine. We are wired to work in a team and to solve problems in a fast and effective way. We also have this capacity to bounce back quickly after defeats. We want to help, comfort, and give hugs, which is part of medicine vital for healing.”Licy L. Yanes Cardozo, MD, a practicing endocrinologist and physician-scientist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson
Huerta-Saenz: When I was a pediatric endocrinology fellow, I applied for a special workshop for fellows organized by the Endocrine Society. This workshop had the goal to provide real information to endocrine fellows who wanted to pursue a research career as part of their future professional lives. The workshop was one day before ENDO and the speakers were outstanding researchers with successful academic careers. This was such an eye-opening event in my career. It helped me confirm my desire to continue in academia, and more than that, it confirmed my decision to look for opportunities as a researcher.
After receiving my permanent residency status, I participated in the FLARE program, which was a game-changer for my career development. My participation in FLARE empowered me to continue in this challenging but amazing career as an academic researcher.
Listening to all the talented FLARE speakers, who were also investigators with diverse cultural, racial, and ethnic backgrounds provided me with a whole new perspective about what I needed to do to overcome certain barriers and challenges. I met wonderful, successful leaders in the field of endocrinology and science such as Dale Abel, MD, PhD, and Stephen Hammes, MD, PhD, among others, and was assigned a FLARE mentor, Joshua Joseph, MD, MPH, FAHA. Since then, our mentorship relationship has continued, and he has been available to support me through virtual sessions, emails, and phone conversations. His generous, honest, and expert guidance has helped me in important moments of my career including grant applications and crucial conversations with leaders.
Thanks to the Endocrine Society, I feel part of a large community of researchers, mentors, and colleagues whom I trust, admire, and enjoy being part of.
Ruiz: The Endocrine Society has played a pivotal role in my career development. It has provided me with a platform to network and become involved in career-changing programs, such as the Future Leaders Advancing Research in Endocrinology (FLARE) program. It gave me my first opportunity to contribute an “invited mini review” in 2022, which garnered recognition for being among the top 10% of the most cited articles in Endocrinology and continues to receive substantial recognition. Additionally, the Society afforded me the first chance to witness the magic that unfolds behind the scenes of the journal, as I took on the role of an early-career reviewer. Furthermore, I was allowed the opportunity to become involved with the Society as a member of the Trainee and Career Development Core Committee, which was an amazing learning experience. In essence, the Endocrine Society has played a fundamental role in shaping my career development.
Rubio: The Endocrine Society offers so many opportunities to connect, both educationally and socially. I am very proud to belong to the Endocrine Society and look forward to participating for many years to come.
What advice would you give to young Hispanic endocrinologists just starting their careers?
Pereira: I think it is very important for young Hispanic endocrinologists, as well as those from other underrepresented backgrounds, to remember the great value their identity and unique perspectives bring to our field. It is also important for us to remember that our power and privilege as professionals give us the opportunity to serve our communities as role models, mentors, and advocates. I advise young endocrinologists to build a supportive network, seek out mentors and sponsors, and get involved with the Endocrine Society.
Cardozo: It will be a fantastic and gratifying ride. Your medical encounter with your Hispanic patients will be among your practice’s most rewarding and challenging. You will get many “Dios me la bendiga” (God bless you) every day. You will get many smiles, hugs, and appreciation from a community that trusts your medical opinion and values you for what you are: Su Doctor.
Galindo: Physicians from Latin America, Spain, or anywhere in the world that speaks Spanish have a great potential to influence our medical field. We are dedicated professionals, with great energy and endless happiness. My advice is to find a niche within our field, whether it has a focus on scientific discovery, clinical innovation, or education, where you can become an expert and provide guidance to patients and junior physicians. Giving back to our younger generations of physicians will make the field stronger and move it forward.
Correa: My best recommendation is that “sky’s the limit.” Latinos make up 19.5 % of the U.S. population and we need more endocrinologists who understand our community. There are many things that we still need to change to make the healthcare system affordable for the underserved community. I encourage all our Latinx endocrinologists to join forces together to help our community. If you want to get involved in a project, please contact me.
“Though being a Latina has sometimes been a challenge in my career (people often underestimate people who look like me), a much bigger challenge has been balancing work and family life as a professional woman. I have been fortunate to have great support from my husband, kids, extended family, and my workplace. However, it has taken me a long time to feel that I am doing enough on both the professional and personal fronts.”Rocio Pereira, MD, chief of endocrinology, Denver Health and associate professor of medicine at the University of Colorado, Aurora
Huerta-Saenz: Be humble, be curious, be persistent, look for guidance from senior researchers and healthcare professionals who truly care about your career, and listen to them with undivided attention. Look for a workplace where you feel truly valued, but also challenged with more opportunities to grow as a professional and researcher. Be resilient when rejections come and things are not going well, but overall, pursue what gives you daily happiness. In my case, even though my clinical load and research projects are hard work, the happy and spontaneous smiles of my young patients truly make my day, no matter what.
Ruiz: Join the Endocrine Society (and other relevant organizations) and prioritize networking. This might seem challenging initially, especially if you come from a cultural or academic background where networking isn’t the norm. However, your network is what will propel you forward. Scientific progress can be tough, but it becomes smoother when approached collectively as a community rather than as an individual.
Rubio: In my current role as president of the Western Endocrine Association, I will encourage our young Hispanic endocrinologists to continue to make a difference in so many patients’ lives. When we change one person’s life for the better, we are affecting that community as a whole.
Newman is the executive editor of Endocrine News and has been with the Endocrine Society since 2013.