“It’s possible I will never see the recovery of my homeland during my lifetime,” said Ernesto González, MD, MGH dermatologist, speaking of the recent damage in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane Maria. “But, it is all of our responsibility to maintain our human fabric. The MGH was instrumental in its collaborative efforts with other institutions to provide 150,000 pounds of medical supplies to several of the most affected hospitals in the Island. Many of those responsible are in this room and I am honored and humbled to be in their company.”

In 2005, González won the award for Outstanding Contributions to the Latino Community, which later was renamed in his honor. This year Mario Rodas, administrator for the MGH Physical and Occupational Therapy Services, and Xavier Fernando Vela Parada, MD, research fellow in Nephrology, were the recipients of the Ernesto González Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Latino Community, recognizing their contributions to improving the experience of Latino patients, families, visitors and employees within the MGH and beyond.

Rodas was recognized for his work as a diversity and inclusion spokesperson at the MGH and throughout the city of Boston. He shared his experience as a formerly undocumented citizen whose story was told by then-Sen. Ted Kennedy on the floor of the Senate in defense of immigration policy.

“I’m lucky to be a proud MGHer and it’s a true testament to the fact that at this hospital we all come from all walks of life,” said Rodas after accepting his award. “But the reality is that there are many other individuals out there that are not as lucky as I am and I’m super proud when our leadership and our hospital raises its voice for issues affecting our workforce, patients, families and
our community.”

Vela Parada was recognized for his work using his medical expertise in Nephrology in his home country of EL Salvador, educating patients and families and researching renal disease from environmental exposure.

“I think that the future of America is diverse, and that Latinos are already playing an important role in several areas that span from public service to the development of innovative technologies,” he said. “This award recognizes that people within the MGH are promoting more initiatives that benefit the Latino community while at the same time acknowledging those who came before us, as is in the case of the remarkable work done by Dr. Ernesto González.”


This article was originally published in the 11/17/17 Hotline issue.