“I have experienced incredible mentorship at Mass General, through CDI connections and beyond.”

“At Mass General I have opportunities to pursue all of the professional roles that are important to me – pediatrician, academic administrator and researcher – in ways that fulfill my passion for improving the care of underserved populations. The Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI) has been intricately involved in connecting me with opportunities and supporting my success.

First and foremost, I think of myself as a pediatrician. At Mass General’s Chelsea HealthCare Center, I lead pediatric primary care, helping patients with a high degree of social complexity through medical home transformation. My academic/administrative passion lies in healthcare innovation and team-based care and how both can be used to benefit underserved populations. I spent my adolescence in El Salvador – I am a first generation immigrant – and I saw first-hand how social context can shape peoples’ health. Through the Center for Diversity and Inclusion, I am part of a growing multidisciplinary, multicultural competency education program. I also do collaborative research around primary care.

When I first came to Mass General as a resident, the CDI and its Resident and Fellows Committee helped me feel connected to a community of other residents beyond my department. CDI people “get” your story. I grew up in El Salvador and California and attended Wesleyan University before attending Harvard Medical School. While there was no one else with exactly my background, CDI is a group where everyone shares the common experience of being different. CDI is the voice saying “What brings you to the table and makes you unique is wonderful and you should go as far as it can take you.”

One thing Mass General excels at is developing research leaders. For many people who are deciding to come here, the thought might be “but I am not a basic researcher.” Really, you can be a translational researcher, a clinical educator, or a clinical innovator and there is room for that at MGH. CDI can give you the connections you need. When I completed my residency and was considering my next step, a CDI Clinician-Teacher Development Award, helped me decide to stay. It gave me the funding to do a research project right off the bat.

My work launching CDI’s cross-cultural education program felt like the perfect intersection of my desires to give back to the organization and mentors who helped me, and my desire to help underserved populations through team-based care. Our programs are unique because we address how to be culturally competent within a diverse care team, as well as in interactions with patients and families. One of our key accomplishments has been to embed cross-cultural education in to the academic curriculum for physicians. Senior leadership has been incredibly supportive, and is very excited about our new pilot program, a 9-hour curriculum that will be implemented by floor unit, allowing us to reach a broader group of patient care personnel and faculty.

I have experienced incredible mentorship at Mass General, through CDI connections and beyond. Although all of these mentors do not “look like me,” what they have in common is an investment in what I want for myself and my career, rather than what they want from me. It’s comforting to know that, because CDI is so connected to senior leadership, there are leaders continuing to think about me and what my next professional steps might look like.”