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: Merielene Siple
Medical Reception Manager, George Street Center
Q: Tell us about yourself and a little bit about your Hispanic heritage
A: My name is Merielene Siple (Merielene Hernandez Ortiz). I was born and raised in the historic town, San Germán, Puerto Rico. My mother (Fidela Ortiz Jusino) raised my two brothers (Jorge and Marcos) and me in a very humble way. As a single mother, she always worked hard and sacrificed herself to provide us with food and the basics.
I learned to appreciate everything in life no matter how simple it was. I went to public schools from elementary to high school, always exceeding the expectations and being an honor student. This was the least that I could do to repay my mother for her sacrifices and teachings.
Q: What has your career path looked like and how did you end up at FFH?
A: I continued my education in the Interamerican University of San Germán. I started my studies, as a Register Nurse but the need to work and study at the same time did not allow me to continue in this area. Later on, I changed my major to Office Administration with a minor in math, graduating as a Cum Laude. I Continued studies towards my master’s degree (21 credits) in Business Administration which I was unable to finish due to the need of having a job. During these years, I worked as an administrative assistant for a federal program of the Puerto Rico University (since I was 18 years old). While I was taking the classes for my Master Degree, I was teaching for two years in a local institute (Instituto de Banca) and a university (Universidad del Este) to students who were pursuing an associate degree or certifications in office administration. Recently, I started studies again toward the master’s degree in Health Administration.
After working in those two places, my career took a different path; I started working in pharmaceuticals (Bristol Myers and Johnson & Johnson) reviewing and implementing processes, ordering materials, and investigating complaints. Unfortunately, Puerto Rico was going through difficult times and most of these factories starting to migrate to other countries. These experiences helped me to grow professionally and inspired me to move out of Puerto Rico to United States (land of opportunities) late 2007. I came to York, Pennsylvania with friends and started a new life. My first job in the USA was with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in Gettysburg through a temporary agency and worked there for a year.
While I was working there, my passion for helping people and staying in the medical field took me to apply to Family First Health for the Medical Record Tech. I appreciate that FFH gave me the opportunity to be part of their family. This is how I started my journey in this country, which took me to the place that I am today.
Q: What is your role at FFH?
A: Since being at FFH, I’ve had the opportunity to move up in different positions as a Medical Reception Lead, Medical Reception Supervisor and last, Medical Reception Manager. Through the last 12 (almost 13) years, I have been acquiring the knowledge and experience to grow professionally in FFH and especially to help the patients in my community.
Q: How have you been able to celebrate your Hispanic heritage at FFH?
A: I have had the opportunity to participate in different projects and events within the Hispanic population. I consider myself a Hispanic population advocate. I am very proud of my roots and my accent. I am the chair of the translation committee at FFH. I work with all departments to make sure that our Hispanic patients receive the information in the language they understand. I am very proud of working for this organization who cares about our Hispanic population and is always looking ways for the patient to receive the care they deserve.
Q: What is something you would like your coworkers and community to know about you?
A: My journey has not been easy, I spent many nights feeling sad and missing my home and my family. My inspiration will always will be my mother, my family, my wonderful husband Joshua Siple, and my beautiful daughter Leanna Siple. When I moved here, I worked two jobs at the time and strived to survive in this country, but never give up on my dream. I hope that my story inspires other Hispanic people to continue to follow their dreams.