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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Jose Fernandez Duarte, MD, MBA, System Medical Director, TeamHealth Hospital Medicine


Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month, from September 15 to October 15, celebrates the contributions people tracing their roots to Spain, Mexico, Central America, South America and the Spanish-speaking nations of the Caribbean have made to American society and culture. September 15 marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on Sept. 16 and Sept. 18.

Dr. Jose Fernandez Duarte’s Experience

TeamHealth System Medical Director, Dr. Jose Fernandez Duarte, who now lives in south Florida serving the Memorial Healthcare System, came to the United States from El Salvador for his medical residency in Baltimore, Maryland. Prior to coming to Maryland, he attended a medical school that his father and grandfather, both physicians, helped found in his home country.

Dr. Fernandez grew up in El Salvador during the country’s 12-year civil war during one of the most difficult times of the country’s modern history. Because of this experience, he is extremely grateful for the opportunities that living in the United States has afforded him.

“I think it’s important to highlight that most Hispanics who have immigrated to the United States usually did so in search of a brighter future. The U.S. provides an array of job opportunities that most of these Latin American countries do not possess. This is exactly why I chose to come to the U.S. for my medical training,” Dr. Fernandez shares.

When he moved to the United States, he moved away from most of his family, minus some extended relatives in California. Dr. Fernandez believes Hispanic people, regardless of their circumstances, have all made sacrifices to be in the United States. “We have all given up a lot – family, culture, land, home, sense of familiarity – to be here. A significant percentage of Hispanic immigrants start from zero and fight to achieve a better life. I take pride in knowing the positive impact that Hispanics have made in this country despite the hardships some of us endured along the way,” says Dr. Fernandez. “That’s the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month − to reflect on the opportunities we have and to recognize the contributions that Latin Americans bring to the United States.”

TeamHealth Support

Dr. Fernandez joined TeamHealth in 2015, the same year he was nominated as TeamHealth medical director of the year. He recently completed his master’s in business administration from the University of Tennessee – Knoxville in a program supported by TeamHealth.

“I think TeamHealth deserves a lot of credit not only for supporting a diverse workplace, but for recognizing holidays like this as part of our commitment to diversity and inclusion. We’re far ahead of many other organizations in this regard, and I’m thankful to be a part of TeamHealth.”