Carrying a message of education and cultural competence as keys to success
LAS VEGAS, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (http://www.aaos.org/) (AAOS) is honored to recognize a surgeon who has spent the majority of his life encouraging those of diverse backgrounds to pursue the orthopaedic specialty and who has never forgotten his Mexican heritage. Ramon L. Jimenez, MD, was presented today with the Academy's Diversity Award at its 2009 Annual Meeting in Las Vegas. "Receiving this award from the Academy is truly an honor and a humbling experience because of all the great individuals who have received it before me," noted Dr. Jimenez.
A practicing orthopaedic surgeon in San Jose, California, for more than 30 years, his journey both personally and professionally began well before that, when his beloved grandfather brought his mother's family to California from their hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico, in the 1920's. Dr. Jimenez also credits his parents for significantly influencing his life direction and core values. "They constantly reminded me that I should never forget my Mexican heritage and culture, especially my ability to speak Spanish."
Growing up in California, Dr. Jimenez recalls there were only a few Latinos out of nearly 800 students in the school he attended. While he was accepted, he soon realized that he was different in cultural background. "I missed out on some mentoring opportunities, such as visiting a hospital or being exposed to professional careers simply because my family was not in those socioeconomic circles," cited Dr. Jimenez. This did not detour his drive or thirst for knowledge. Rather it inspired his quest to become a mentor himself. "Minority students, especially Hispanic/Latinos, continue to face barriers and obstacles to professional careers. When I meet younger people of diverse backgrounds, I always encourage them to stay in school and take a serious look at the healthcare field. A little nudging and pushing helps a bit too," said Dr. Jimenez.
Pulled toward medicine, Dr. Jimenez attended
During his final year of residency he took a trip to Tunisia, where he treated a number of diseases, maladies and congenital deformities that he says, "most orthopaedic residents can only dream about having the opportunity to treat." This experience pointed out to him the plight of those who suffer healthcare disparities. Dr. Jimenez also served his country as a Major in the U.S. Army where he had the privilege to help treat thousands of paratroopers.
Elected to the AAOS Board of Directors, Dr. Jimenez served as a member of the Academy's Board of Councilors, Chair of the Patient Education Committee and most recently, the Diversity Advisory Board (DAB). While on the DAB, Dr. Jimenez was instrumental in helping to launch the Academy's Culturally Competent Care program.
"We needed to engage our members in this important issue. When an orthopaedic surgeon opens the exam room door and sees a patient different from themselves, they need to know how to treat that patient on more than just a medical level. They must know a patient's customs and be responsive to their cultural needs, as well delivering optimal orthopaedic care. Respectful communication is the key," noted Dr. Jimenez. "I am so pleased with the Academy's efforts on this front."
Dr. Jimenez has served as president of the Western Orthopaedic Association as well as the California Orthopaedic Association. He has also served as chief of staff and on the board of trustees at O'Connor Hospital, in San Jose, California, which is the same hospital where he was born.
Giving back to his community has always ranked high on his "to-do" list. He has served on the board at
"The reason I chose the orthopaedic specialty," said Dr. Jimenez, "is because most of all, I wanted to help patients attain and maintain optimal musculoskeletal health throughout their entire active lives. One of my greatest motivators was my mother who personified a simple sign she had on her kitchen wall, which said in very big letters 'NEVER STOP MOVING' and I never have."
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|SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons|
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