17 Sep Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2000 Scholar Esperanza Salazar
Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova.
Boettcher Scholar Year: 2000
Colleges/Degree(s): Colorado College, Bachelor of Arts in Biology; University of Colorado, MD
Tell us about your current work and how long you’ve been doing it. What is your favorite aspect of your current occupation?
I am an otolaryngologist with a private practice in Pueblo. I finished residency at the Baylor College in Medicine in Houston in 2014 and have been practicing in Pueblo ever since. I love being in medicine and specifically being an otolaryngologist as it is a perfect mixture of the medical and surgical management of common ailments. I enjoy the challenge of figuring out complex problems on a daily basis while being able to help others and give back to my community. I also do three rural outreach clinics per month, which allows me to help other communities in need.
What role has being a Boettcher Scholar played into where you are and what you are doing now?
Being a Boettcher Scholar allowed me to attend the college of my dreams, Colorado College. My education at CC was invaluable in being accepted at University of Colorado for medical school. The well-rounded education at CC gave me the foundation to succeed in medical school and ultimately obtain a spot in a strong residency program.
Tell us about your involvement in activities, organizations, or groups outside of work.
One of the most fulfilling and exciting experiences I have had since finishing residency was participating in a medical mission to Cambodia. Through the organization Jeremiah’s Hope, I participated in a two-week trip in which our team evaluated and operated on many indigent patients in Phnom Penh. In Pueblo, I provide free annual oral cancer screenings at the Dorcy Cancer Center. I also am a member of the Pueblo Historical Society. Through this organization, I continually learn about the interesting history of Pueblo with a close-knit group that is working towards its preservation while improving our city’s future.
What’s the best advice you’ve received and what advice do you have for current graduates entering your career field?
Your best teachers are your patients. A mentor and one of the finest physicians I know would always say that, and I find it to be true every day. To those interested in a career in medicine I would say start looking for shadowing and educational opportunities as early as possible. It is a long arduous road, and you will need a strong support system of family and friends; it is important to maintain and nurture these relationships no matter how busy school and your career may become.
If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, whom would you choose and why?
I would dine with women who pushed boundaries in their professional fields, like the first female physician, Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I would want to thank them for their strength and perseverance, and honor their sacrifice in helping me achieve the personal success I’ve been able to attain in my career. I would ask for advice in how I can help the young women of today and tomorrow maintain the momentum towards gender equality.