MAKING A DIFFERENCE: From left, Cardona-Rivera, Gonzalez and Campos
“Somebody once told me that I am like a tiger with my patients who struggle to communicate,” says Olga Campos, RN, of Ellison 19 Thoracic Surgery. “Everyone deserves the same care, so I am extra protective of them. I know that when I first came to the United States, the only thing I understood how to say was ‘yes.’”
For her extraordinary dedication to patients, especially those who do not speak English, Campos was chosen as one of this year’s recipients of the Ernesto Gonzalez Award for Outstanding Service to the Latino Community named for longtime MGH dermatologist Ernesto Gonzalez, MD. She and Dulce Cardona-Rivera – who serves as office coordinator for Materials Management and was selected for her passion for helping others – were celebrated at a Sept. 18 breakfast in the Thier Conference Room.
The event, which also helped kick off Latino Heritage Month, is sponsored annually by the Committee for Latino Initiatives and Human Resources. Approximately 3,000 MGH employees identify themselves as Latino. Attendees were welcomed to the breakfast with traditional music as well as festive “¡Soy Latino!” pins. Milton Calderon, a coordinator for the Volunteer Department, gave a presentation about the success of a new version of the Be Fit employee fitness program, specifically designed for Latinos. Jeff Davis, senior vice president for Human Resources, and C. Andres Bedoya, PhD, an MGH psychologist and past award recipient, also spoke. Both remarked that Gonzalez, despite being among the most accomplished and well-respected physicians at the MGH, remains incredibly humble.
Gonzalez then presented the awards to the 2012 recipients. Accepting her award, Cardona-Rivera described coming to the U.S. at the age of 9. “My parents sacrificed for their children, leaving behind friends and family in Puerto Rico and moving to Boston so we could have a better life. It was very difficult for them. But my parents taught us values and principles, to be proud of who we are and to never forget where we came from.”
Campos thanked her mentor, Marian Jeffries, RN, CNS, FNP, and encouraged clinicians to make an extra effort to ensure their patients understand them. “You must have an open mind and heart when you care for these patients,” said Campos. “It will make a big difference.”
Read more articles from the 9/28/12 Hotline issue.