As a leading national medical group, we are proud to represent the country's diversity in our teams and the patients we serve. Among those are the Hispanic and Latino communities, which have a rich and diverse history. Join us as we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, and hear from our teammates about their experiences and how their identities have shaped their personal and professional journeys.
Sandra M. Rodriguez,
CHC, CPC, CPMA, CMBM
Sandra M. Rodriguez is a Senior Director of Documentation Education for Anesthesia and Pain Management. She is based in Florida and has been with Envision for 15 years.
At 11, I moved from Colombia to the United States with my mother, who was the sole breadwinner for the family. We had limited resources, and it was difficult communicating with our new community members who didn’t speak Spanish. I learned that adversity is the parent of virtue and to never give up on my dreams because everything is possible. With perseverance comes great success. I know many members of Hispanic and Latino communities who have risked their lives to seek better opportunities in the U.S. and share their knowledge and skills to improve society. The most humbling lesson of all is the understanding that everyone deserves to be treated with respect and kindness.
Dalila Nieves-Cruz, MD, DABR
Dr. Dalila Nieves-Cruz is an interventional radiologist at Envision, serving as the Chief of Radiology at her hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dr. Nieves-Cruz is based in Tampa Bay and has been with Envision for four years.
Hispanic and Latino communities have different customs and belief systems that enrich daily life. My heritage and roots are pivotal to providing great patient care because of my well-rounded understanding of cultural diversity. Understanding someone’s beliefs and background allows for a more relatable and compassionate interaction with patients.
Victor H. Portillo, MD, FACS
Dr. Victor H. Portillo is a trauma surgeon at Envision and the Trauma Medical Director at his hospital in Arlington, Texas. He has been with Envision for six years and has been practicing medicine for 10 years.
My story and career embody the American Dream. My parents immigrated to this great country, risking life and limb in search of a brighter tomorrow. Through much sacrifice and struggle, they made it so that all three of their children went to college and established careers for themselves.
My Latino experience is embedded into my very essence. It is my duty to live my life as openly and brightly as possible, serving as a figurative lighthouse in a vast sea, guiding young Hispanic/Latino men and women to a brighter tomorrow. My journey enables me to connect personally with many of my patients while bringing them the comfort of a familiar story and heritage during what can be one of the most traumatic events of their lifetime.
Javier Lopez, MD, FASA
Dr. Javier Lopez is an anesthesiologist and Regional Medical Director at Envision and serves as the Chief of Anesthesia at his hospital in Miami, Florida. Dr. Lopez has been with Envision for 12 years.
My family and the love we share for one another means the world to me. I am a first-generation Cuban immigrant, and my parents have made many sacrifices, enabling my siblings and me to seek better opportunities and give back to our communities. Traditions are also important, and Christmas Eve has always been the most meaningful holiday to my family. It’s a time for us to come together, enjoy traditional food and continue making memories.
Ameth Aguirre, MD, MPH, FAAP
Dr. Ameth Aguirre is a neonatologist at Envision, serving as the Director of Neonatology at his hospital in Jersey City, New Jersey. Dr. Aguirre has been with Envision for five years.
I immigrated from Panama to the U.S. as an adult and had to learn English before I could work as a physician. I’m proud to be Latino, and I hope I can serve as an example for younger generations that anything is possible with hard work and dedication. As a physician, I serve my Hispanic and Latino communities by understanding not only what we have in common but how our different upbringings, cultures and traditions have shaped the way we perceive health. I want to continue improving the health of communities and making sure patients receive the care they need.
Julissa Alvarez, MD, EdD, CPH
Dr. Julissa Alvarez is a Regulatory Research Specialist at Envision. She earned her medical and doctorate degrees in the Dominican Republic before coming to the U.S. She has been with Envision for three years and is based in South Florida.
My greatest strength as a Latina is being resilient and navigating and pursuing my dreams with optimism and without ever forgetting my roots. Being Hispanic is not just being part of an ethnic group. It is about the heritage, the values we share, the traditions and the unconditional love for our family. It goes beyond language; it is about striving to have a positive perspective toward any challenge.