For Susana Villate Prieto, MD, a family medicine physician at Bon Secours Depaul Medical Associates, Hispanic Heritage Month is a time of reflection.
“It is a time to remember all of the prior Hispanic people who came before me,” Dr. Villate Prieto shares. “All of the changes and improvements that they brought to the country helped me get to where I am today.”
Dr. Villate Prieto was born in the country of Colombia and moved to the state of Florida with her parents at the young age of 15. Some of her family, including sisters, cousins, aunts and uncles, still reside in Colombia. After graduating high school, Dr. Villate Prieto attended the University of Miami for her undergraduate studies.
“This month is also a time to celebrate and bring awareness to Hispanic people who have done great things in the United States. I try to not only celebrate this for only one month, but all year round,” she continues.
Everything fell into place for Dr. Villate Prieto when she made the move to Norfolk, VA and joined our ministry just one year ago. She shares that having diversity in health care is important for patients who come from different cultures.
“I have Spanish-speaking patients in my office often and when I walk in, they are relieved to have someone who can speak their language,” Dr. Villate Prieto says. “Because I can speak their language, the patients are able to open up and I can deliver better care to their medical needs.”
Dr. Villate Prieto also adds Hispanic people are an important part of America. They help to build and shape the country every day.
“Having diversity in health care strengthens the community and contributes to bettering the health inequalities that are seen on a day-to-day basis.”