Family history, Hispanic heritage motivation to become doctor
Thursday, September 29, 2022
Media Contact: Sara Plummer | Communications Coordinator | 918-561-1282 | firstname.lastname@example.org
In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, a Q&A with Dr. Leslie Barcenas, an OSU College of Osteopathic Medicine alumna and an Emergency Medicine resident at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
Where are you from?
When did you graduate from OSU-COM and where are you now?
I graduated in 2021 and I’m now at INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center in Oklahoma City.
What can you tell us about your Hispanic heritage and background?
I am Spanish, from Spain, and Salvadorean, from El Salvador.
How important is your heritage to you?
My heritage is very important to me. My grandparents and parents are hard-working, compassionate people and that has been instilled in me.
Why did you want to go into medicine?
My mom developed heart disease from having rheumatic fever as a kid. This is a disease that is rare in the United States, but its prevalence remains high in developing countries. Growing up, I attended all her doctor’s appointments and served as her translator. It’s important to have doctors that can relate to their patients, and right now about 3% of physicians are Hispanic.
I went into medicine to help patients like my mom. Even in English it’s sometimes difficult to understand medical jargon, so adding a language barrier on top of this made it difficult to communicate effectively with her physicians.
Why did you choose OSU-COM and what was the experience like as a medical student?
OSU-COM gives you the opportunity and encourages you to be involved with your community. Growing up, I didn’t personally know any Hispanic doctors. When I was at OSU, I was able to volunteer at a local high school with a large Hispanic population and some of those students felt it was easier to relate and ask questions about a pathway to medicine.
How is your residency with INTEGRIS helping you achieve your goal?
INTEGRIS’ Hispanic Initiative attempts to teach patients English and increase their medical literacy. One of the main reasons I chose to go to INTEGRIS for my residency is because of the large Hispanic population we serve. It’s important to have doctors that can relate to their patients.