We are currently celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month, which pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation and society. This year FFH would like to amplify the stories of our Hispanic employees and the ways they positively impact our work and the communities we serve. We hope you enjoy hearing their stories as much as we have.
Spotlight: Luis Garcia, MD
Q: Tell us about yourself and a little bit about your Hispanic heritage
A: My name is Luis Garcia and both of my parents are from Puerto Rico. I was born in the states and grew up in Maryland. My first language was Spanish and I didn’t learn English until I started watching Sesame Street and going to pre-school. My parents always took great pride in being Puerto Rican and would teach my siblings and I all the time about our customs and culture (especially our food!). As an example, I have fond memories as a child going to parrandas during the Christmas holiday season. This can best be described like Puerto Rican caroling, except a lot more fun. My parents drilled in me the importance of speaking Spanish at home and to keep it up as a second language. This has been one of the greatest gifts they’ve given me.
Q: What has your career path looked like and how did you end up at FFH?
A: In high school I was fortunate to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. There I witnessed extreme poverty, where people literally lived on top of garbage dumps. I was awakened to how the lack of medical care was one of the great injustices they faced. At the age of 16 I made a commitment to help in whatever way I could to serve the Spanish community in my own home. I completed pre-med at Franciscan University of Steubenville and ended up at Temple University in Philadelphia for medical school. There I had my first experience working in an urban community clinic serving the Spanish speaking population. The care and compassion that the family doctor had for the community was nothing short of inspiring. I then went on to do medical mission trips to Ecuador which continued to form my desire to serve our community. These experienced helped me decide that family medicine was the best career choice for me to live out this mission, and I completed my residency training at York Hospital in 2014. I knew that there were only a handful of offices in the area that served the Spanish speaking community of York well, and after searching I felt that FFH did the best job of living this mission. I have been here now for seven years!
Q: What is your role at FFH?
A: I’m a family physician where most of my patients are Spanish speaking, ranging from newborns to patients in their 90s. I also am the Chief Medical Information Officer, which is a fancy way of saying that I help make our computer system meet the needs of our day to day clinical practice.
Q: How have you been able to celebrate your Hispanic heritage at FFH?
A: I always look forward to Thanksgiving and Christmas time here, because we will do pot-luck luncheons and everyone always brings foods from their unique countries and cultures. Since many of our employees are Hispanic, there is never any shortage of delicious rice and beans, pernil, and plantains.
Q: What is something you would like your coworkers and community to know about you?
A: Aside from my desire to give back to my community, my Catholic faith is what drives and motivates the work that I do. I have a quote by Pope Francis by my desk that says “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting, and dirty because it has been out on the streets.” I reflect on this often and for me it is a challenge to enter into the lives of my patients to not only help deliver better health, but also give them the care, compassion, and love that they deserve.