Hispanic Heritage Month – Ricardo Mosquera, MD

Hispanic Heritage Month - Ricardo Mosquera, MD

Graphic by Omar Aguado/Office of Communications

McGovern Medical School is joining the celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. This week, we highlight Ricardo Mosquera, MD, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics.

Mosquera is a national leader in advancing the care and outcome of high-risk medically complex children — a group who make up only 0.4% of all children in the U.S. but account for approximately 40-50% of hospital costs and pediatric deaths. He is also an international leader in primary ciliary dyskinesia and is nationally recognized for work in the follow-up of premature infants and child survivors with congenital diaphragmatic hernia.

On what his heritage means to him
“I am very proud of my roots and our tenacity to overcome adversity in order to progress in this society. Heritage means to recognize our culture’s achievements and contributions in the USA and to bring awareness to our community, exhibit our battles, and be grateful for how this country is a land of opportunities.”

On what Hispanic Heritage Month means to him
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a particular time in which we can reflect on the changes in our culture, how it influences other groups, recognition for our hard work, and our contributions to American society. Oftentimes, the Hispanic community is neglected and not recognized as well as others, however, this time around we can highlight our accomplishments and stand proud of our culture. Also, this is the time to reflect on our growth in this land and pass on this knowledge to our children and future generations.”

On his background
“While the thought of caring for severely ill children seems frightening and overwhelming for some, it is different for me. At an early age, I had the unfortunate experience of seeing my younger sister grow a brain tumor while requiring a tracheostomy, mechanical ventilation, and a gastrostomy tube for a long time. Amid this personally challenging experience, my family received comfort and support from the physicians, nurses, and ancillary staff, till her last breath.

During this challenging situation, I was left with a clear understanding and admiration for the effect that an attentive pediatrician can have on his patients both emotionally and medically. Using this as my base motivation, I entered medical school at age 16 and became a pediatrician, only to be surprised by another challenging yet rewarding experience. My wife and I became parents to a daughter with Down syndrome.

Although we were both pediatricians, we were yet to understand what fatherhood and motherhood would be like for a child with special needs. While I faced many challenges that I otherwise would have never imagined, my personal experience taught me humility and gratitude and reinforced my commitment to children with medical complexities.

Later, during my pediatric pulmonary fellowship, I received perhaps the most important advice from my clinical mentor, Dr. Giuseppe Colasurdo. He said ‘Be a doctor who treats patients as if they were part of your family.’ From that day forward, I have carried this advice with every patient I treat and continue advocating for children with medical complexities.

Once I finished my fellowship, I had the pleasure of meeting an insightful mentor, Dr. Jon Tyson. Dr. Tyson taught me that the best way to help my patients and many others elsewhere is by conducting well-designed clinical trials to be sure what I was doing was actually beneficial, to secure the funding required to keep improving my care, and to help other physicians improve their care.”