Clínica Esperanza has a dual purpose: catering to the medical needs of the Hispanic population of Memphis who are over the age of 13 and who do not have medical insurance, and serving as a teaching facility for University of Tennessee, Memphis medical students. We lean a lot there as well.
A basic Saturday morning at Clínica Esperanza for us as Rhodes interns means collecting patients’ medical histories and observing and aiding the medical students who work with the attending doctors at the clinic. We get to see firsthand what it is like to be a medical student or a doctor: learning basic procedures and terminology, which allows us to aid people who are sometimes overlooked because of language and economic barriers.
The long-term goal of Clínica Esperanza is to gather enough medical histories to create a demographic study of diseases, illnesses and medical abnormalities in the Hispanic population of Memphis that will allow for more accurate and better treatment for them in the future.
I have been interested in genetics and fetal medicine since I took AP biology in high school, and I knew when I came to Rhodes I eventually wanted to be a doctor. I love that Rhodes lets me pursue medicine but at the same time if I want to take an art class or get creative, there are opportunities for those aspects of my personality as well. Rhodes has been terrific in providing opportunities for me to combine my areas of interest, one of which is Spanish. I am amazed by the firsthand experience we receive in the area of medicine and as translators for the Spanish community while interning at Clínica Esperanza. My plan is to go to medical school and become an obstetrician, and I know that what I am learning now will be invaluable to me later.
I currently serve as the Kinney Program coordinator for hospitals, and volunteer at the Regional Medical Center and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. I am also pursuing a degree in biology and in Spanish at Rhodes. I have found my linguistic training invaluable in working with international patients and the Memphis Latino population. I am usually the main route of communication between patient and physician, leading me to appreciate fully the necessity for bilingualism in the workplace. In medicine, no day is routine, and that’s what attracts me to it. My experiences at Clínica Esperanza have only strengthened my desire to pursue a career in medicine.
I really like that when I am translating for a Spanish patient at Clínica Esperanza, I am helping someone who would not be able to communicate as easily otherwise, and who does not have the luxury of a privileged background that so many take for granted. I was a volunteer fall semester of my junior year at Casa Maria, a religious program that aids the Hispanic community, and I went on a medical mission trip to Belize last summer. Those experiences allowed me to be involved in service, medicine and the Spanish language, a foundation that made Clínica Esperanza a perfect fit for me this year. This may be surprising to some, since I am not a biology major or minor, but rather a political science major. I have been on the premed track since sophomore year, though, and plan to go into orthopedic surgery.
I have developed lifelong passions while at Rhodes. With my love for the sciences, my interest in being a doctor and my passion for the Spanish culture and service to others, Clínica Esperanza became the bridge for my interests and a stepping-stone to my future goals. I have always wanted to be a doctor, and I am interested in neuroscience or infectious disease as a research area. The ability to communicate with one’s patients is of utmost importance, so the fact that I am able to broaden and strengthen my knowledge of Spanish as a language now means I am better prepared for the future.