Tucson doctor returns to roots, inspires kids to dream big - Tucson News Now

Tucson doctor returns to roots, inspires kids to dream big

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Dare to dream, that's what one girl growing up on Tucson's west side did, and now she's living the dream. 

Her inspirational story started in the Barrio Hollywood neighborhood.  She's all grown up now and a doctor, inspiring kids at Manzo Elementary to dream big just like she did.

"Getting here was a culmination of a lot of baby steps," said Dr. Quihuis-Alvarez.  The idea of becoming a doctor seemed too far out of reach, but today, in her white coat Dr. Bernadette Quihuis-Alvarez has beaten the odds.  Growing up in Barrio Hollywood neighborhood, and wanting to go to medical school, she says wasn't the norm. 

"I haven't been here in 30 years.  I don't know if things have changed, but when I was here being smart and liking to read and learn wasn't very cool.  Is it still not cool?" said Dr. Quihuis-Alvarez. 

She is sharing her story with the kids at Manzo Elementary, the same school she grew up going to.  And judging by her school photos, many of the students can see she is more like them than they think. 

"I walked to school like they did.  I didn't come from a rich family.  I didn't come from an influential family," said Dr. Quihuis-Alvarez.  "I got to where I was with just starting with a dream." 

On her walks to and from school, she remembers taking a break in the same spot.  She would stand and stare at St. Mary's Hospital, telling herself she'd be a doctor there someday. 

But her peers didn't make it easy for her. Remember it wasn't ‘cool' to be smart and Dr. Quihuis-Alvarez loved science. 

"One of the ways I kind of bypassed those negative feelings, if people didn't want to be my friend because I was smart, I would search out people that did like me. My qualities because I liked to read, because I liked to study."

Dr. Quihuis-Alvarez has come back to Southern Arizona because she wants to relate to the community she's serving, and no better place to do that she says than at home.  So she is getting herself out there. 

"Letting people know and the children that I'm available, approachable," she said.  "I can understand and relate to the struggles they may encounter if they're trying to achieve a dream and no matter what it is doesn't have to be in the medical field." 

Proof for these children that anything is possible with hard work and determination.  After graduating high school, she spent a year at Pima Community College and then transferred to the University of Arizona.  After graduation from college she went onto Medical school in New Jersey.  She now sees patients at St. Mary's Hospital and the El Rio Clinics.

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