By Patricia Tortolani | November 11, 2020 | People Feature
What inspired you to get into medicine and public health? My father was a physician, and I remember as a child sitting at the nurses station and having an intellectual curiosity, trying to understand why certain patients did better than others.
Public health is an applied discipline. And for me, my research is a vehicle for social justice. And I think I’ve always been inspired by the potential of using my work to leave the world a little better.
Tell us about the research you are doing at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center? I lead a group of multidisciplinary researchers who are trying to understand how to prevent cancer, how to diagnose it earlier, and how to ensure that people with cancer live long lives with optimal quality. My own research is situated in the space of cancer disparities—working with medically underserved communities in Miami-Dade to develop community-based solutions to allow all women to participate in cervical cancer screenings. Cervical cancer is a preventable cancer. No woman should die of it.
In addition to my work at Sylvester, I am the first-ever woman vice provost for research at University of Miami. In this role I work with creative scholars from across the university, thinking about how their work can translate into meaningful impact that elevates the university’s ability to achieve its scholarly goals.
What is your greatest achievement? I hope that is yet to be determined.
Best piece of advice you ever received? My dad used to quote Edison and he would say, ‘Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.’ And I think more than anything I know how to hustle.
What is your advice to the next generation of ‘women of influence’? The future is female and that we authentically need to use and represent our voice and perspective as women to create inclusivity and diversity at the leadership table.
Photography by: Genesis Bonilla