Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebrating our Doctors
Story by Eline deBruijn Wiggins. Video by Tom Riehm.
Hispanic Heritage Month creates an additional opportunity for us to celebrate the culture and contributions of people who are Hispanic or Latino/a. At Cook Children’s, we see the world through the eyes of children and families, of all races, ethnicities and languages. Let’s hear from a few Latino/a and Hispanic pediatricians and specialists at Cook Children's.
Celina Cepeda, M.D.; Ana Rios, M.D.; Javier Gelvez, M.D.; Roberto Caballero, M.D.; Victoria Talamo, M.D. and Bianka Soria-Olmos, D.O. sat down with us to share their journeys to becoming doctors and to hear their perspectives as Hispanic and Latino/a doctors and specialists.
Did you know?
- In the U.S., Hispanics and Latinos are an underrepresented population in medical and health care professions. Only 5.8% of active physicians are Hispanic or Latino/a in the United States.
- The Hispanic and Latino population is growing and currently makes up approximately 19% of the U.S. population.
- In Tarrant County, 30.2% of the population identified as Hispanic or Latino, according to the 2021 Census.
- National Latino/a Physician Day is Oct. 1, a day to raise awareness about the need for more Latino/a doctors.
Meet 6 of our doctors and specialists
Celina Cepeda, M.D., is a pediatric nephrologist at Cook Children's Prosper. She's from Brownsville, Texas and is bilingual in Spanish and English. She enjoys teaching her patients about the kidneys and staying healthy.
“It really makes me happy when patients are Spanish-speaking only and I can help take care of them and they are appreciative of that,” Dr. Cepeda said. “Because otherwise, it's difficult for them to communicate their needs and what they're hoping to achieve for their children health-wise.”
Ana Rios, M.D., of the Cook Children's Infectious Disease team, grew up in Colombia. She says both of her parents were physicians so she always grew up listening to them talking about how passionate they were about their jobs.
“My older brother was diagnosed with leukemia and my parents were the ones who made the diagnosis,” Dr. Rios said. “That made me feel more passionate about becoming a doctor and pediatrician and helping kids like my brother. Eventually, that's what I did.”
Bianka Soria-Olmos, D.O., serves as our Medical Advisor for Digital Health and a Cook Children's pediatrician in Haslet. She has lived in Fort Worth for most of her life and as a child, she went to Cook Children's as her brother received care here.
“I always said I wanted to become a doctor and that one day I wanted to work at Cook Children's,” Dr. Soria-Olmos said. “I love that I was able to fulfill my childhood dream here. I like that we continue to strive to serve this community in the way it has been changing and do the best for the children.”
Javier Gelvez, M.D., of the Cook Children's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, is from Colombia and was the youngest of eight children. He has been at Cook Children's for 21 years.
“We can inspire other people to be physicians and as my kids grow up I say this is an opportunity to serve,” Dr. Gelvez said. “This is the beauty of a job where you can serve other people and make a living.”
Roberto Caballero, M.D., of the Cook Children's Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, grew up in Mercedes in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. At the time, his father was the only doctor in town. People came to their house after hours and on weekends needing help. Dr. Caballero is bilingual and said not many days go by that he doesn't have to communicate with patients in Spanish.
“That inspired me to help others and to value what it means to be available to people in need,” Dr. Caballero said.
Victoria Talamo, M.D., of the Cook Children's Pulmonology team, is from Venezuela. She says she enjoys helping people and was inspired to become a physician just like her dad.
“He was like my hero and he was everything to me,” Dr. Talamo said. “I wanted to grow up and be like him. He would come home late at night and share these amazing stories about his day.”
About Cook Children's
Cook Children’s Health Care System embraces an inspiring Promise – to improve the health of every child through the prevention and treatment of illness, disease and injury. Based in Fort Worth, Texas, we’re proud of our long and rich tradition of serving our community. Our not-for-profit organization is comprised of nine companies, including our Medical Center, Physician Network, Home Health company, Northeast Hospital, Pediatric Surgery Center, Health Plan, Health Services Inc., Child Study Center and Health Foundation. With more than 60 primary, specialty and urgent care locations throughout Texas, families can access our top-ranked specialty programs and network of services to meet the unique needs of their child. For 100 years, we’ve worked to improve the health of children from across our primary service area of Denton, Hood, Johnson, Parker, Tarrant and Wise counties. We combine the art of caring with leading technology and extraordinary collaboration to provide exceptional care for every child. This has earned Cook Children’s a strong, far-reaching reputation with patients traveling from around the country and the globe to receive life-saving pediatric care. For more information, visit cookchildrens.org.