Guest Voz: A noted brain surgeon reflects on his life as an undocumented farm worker


LatinaLista — All too often, the human element is excluded from the debate on what to do about undocumented immigrants. Because of the rampant hostility manufactured by some self-interest groups, we are all supposed to believe that undocumented migrants will never amount to anything but a drain on our society.
The problem is, though we know that assumption to be false, there are not enough examples known to counteract it. So, whenever a success story is discovered, it deserves to be shared — to inspire the undocumented that there is still hope for their future and to enlighten those of us who have forgotten that the human spirit will overcome any obstacle placed in its way.
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Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa journeyed from being an undocumented migrant farm worker to a respected brain surgeon.
(Source:Reader’s Digest)

Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa’s story comes to Latina Lista courtesy of a new interactive discussion site called Big Think.

Twenty years ago, Dr. Alfredo Quinoñes-Hinojosa hopped a border fence from Mexico into the United States and became a migrant farm worker, living in the fields in a broken-down camper he bought for $300.
When told he would probably be a farm worker for the rest of his life, he signed up for English classes at a community college, where one of his teachers encouraged him to apply to UC-Berkeley. There, he developed a passion for science, and showed remarkable aptitude. He went on to Harvard Medical School and graduated with honors, followed by a residency in neurosurgery at UC-San Francisco, where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental and stem cell biology.
He later received the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Ronald Bittner Award. Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa is now an Associate Professor of Neurosurgery and Oncology at Johns Hopkins and serves as the Director of the brain tumor program at the The Johns Hopkins Bayview campus. There, his focus is on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors, with an emphasis on motor and speech mapping during surgery.

Hear Dr. Quinoñes-Hinojosa speak more about his life and work.