HESTEC QUICK HIT: Latinas learn about their history and future in medicine, during Latina Day

Dr. Adela Valdez, UTRGV School of Medicine Associate Dean for Student Affairs, spoke to students and parents during HESTEC 2016’s Latina Day on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016, about her family’s history in pursuing their dreams for a career in medicine. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

By Jennifer L. Berghom

EDINBURG, TEXAS – OCT. 5, 2016 – About a dozen high school senior girls and their mothers on Wednesday learned during a breakout session at HESTEC Latina Day that the Rio Grande Valley is the birthplace of the country’s first Latina doctor, and the home of a medical school in which more than half of its first class is female.

The students, from Monte Alto and Santa Maria high schools, and their mothers, heard from Michelle Zeager, D.O., MPH, assistant clinical professor and director of pediatric environmental health at the UTRGV School of Medicine, who gave them a history of women in medicine and the obstacles they faced in pursuing their passion to help others.

They also heard from Dr. Adela Valdez, M.D., MBA, associate dean for student affairs at UTRGV School of Medicine, her daughter, Dr. Dora Martinez, M.D., and her mother, Eloisa Garcia, who shared the story of how their strong family ties allowed the younger two generations pursue their dreams of becoming doctors.

“Rely on your family,” Valdez said. “Move on and do what you need to do in life.”

The women also received a visit from U.S. Rep. Rubén Hinojosa (TX-15), who encouraged the teens to pursue higher education and not let barriers interfere.

UTRGV Senior Writer / 956-665-7192

UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742