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I was her

Rohr Eskenazi

Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber

Recently I had a friend send me this link about a young Latina who had been accepted into medical school. Reading it reminded me so much of myself.

I graduated from undergrad in 1984 and medical school from Weill Cornell in 1988. As a first generation Hispanic college student, I too heard many times that I would not make it. At times it did seem that the odds were against me. Working full time at McDonald’s paid my way for college. Being involved with Chicanos for Community Medicine at CSULB, gave me the insight, support, and confidence to consider medicine as a career. Affirmative action helped me actually have a shot. I too got multiple acceptances while some classmates did not.

I know I have an opportunity and a responsibility to do well and to pay it back, which I do every day. Studies have shown that when you come from a disadvantaged background, or a rural area, you are more likely to return to that area to practice. Also, a diverse workforce in medicine is advantageous for patient health.

But do I, like many others feel self conscious at times that I am “not good enough”? Yes, but so do many of my colleagues. Regardless of the color of their skin , gender or religions, we all at some point question our knowledge. Medicine is an all encompassing field and an enormous responsibility. It is not uncommon to question our decisions and replay them in our minds. What I have learned over the last 30 years, is that I AM GOOD ENOUGH!

I represent what affirmative action was meant to do and I appreciate the opportunity to be successful. I gave credit to the state of California was I was honored recently as a Distinguished Alumni from CSULB. Because of tax payer dollars, I could attend CSULB while working at McDonald’s to pay my way. Only in CA was this possible and it gave me the start and helped me attend college which has opened so many doors.

 Am currently working on getting promoted to full professor. When I succeed, I will be one of 20 women full professors of Mexican American ethnicity out of over 34,000 faculty in US medical schools.

None of us have done this on our own.  We all owe a debt of gratitude for those that have gone before us who paved the way and for those that still support us, by tax dollars, personal stories, compassion, and support. 


Latina Accepted By 11 Med Schools Has A Message For Those Who Credit Affirmative Action
The Huffington Post

All Chelsea Batista wanted was to get into one of the 18 medical schools she applied to. Instead, she got into 11. … Read the full story



The views expressed in this content represent the perspective and opinions of the author and may or may not represent the position of Indiana University School of Medicine.

Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber