March 26, 2019—Xiomara Brioso Rubio was first convinced of the change she could create in the medical field after witnessing her family’s health care journey, both in her native Peru and in the United States. While accompanying relatives to doctor’s visits and serving as a translator, Brioso Rubio discovered her role as “a bridge between immigrant patients and their providers,” a practice she aims to continue when she becomes a physician.
“Growing up in Peru, I witnessed a lot of injustices in medicine,” she says. “The quality of care you received depended on what you could afford. Moving to America introduced me to amazing new technologies that greatly impacted health outcomes. However, as immigrants, my family and I did not have access to all these resources. The language was a great barrier not only for us but also for my community.”
Brioso Rubio, a third-year medical student at the UF College of Medicine, says receiving the William W. and Marie C. Wolff Scholarship has allowed her to focus on her goals in medical school: excelling academically, nurturing her relationships with colleagues and working toward achieving health equity for all.
“I come from a humble family,” she says. “Though my parents help me greatly however they can, the cost of a medical education quickly adds up. This scholarship has made my dream career more attainable.”
As a UF College of Medicine student, Brioso Rubio has joined the Latino American Medical Student Association and the American Medical Women’s Association, where she can work toward achieving equity in representation of gender and cultural identity in the physician workforce. Volunteering as a staff member for the Health Care Summer Institute, which immerses underrepresented students in the world of health care professions, has also given Brioso Rubio the opportunity to mentor younger students with whom she has much in common.
“I have been blessed to have great supporters, but only minority and first-generation students can truly understand the struggles of achieving a career,” she says. “As a first-generation student, I have had to become my own source for information. I want to be that resource for younger generations, helping them attain their academic goals.”
Over the last three years, she has found the UF College of Medicine to be a family environment where collaboration trumps competition. One of her warmest memories is treating patients as an officer at the Equal Access Clinic.
“A special memory was caring for newly arrived Venezuelan refugees and playing a small part in their transition into American life,” she says. “These patients were scared and isolated, but they felt comfort when they met someone who not only looked like them but also understood their concerns.”
Brioso Rubio is still weighing her options for residencies to pursue, but dermatology and OB-GYN stand out to her.
“Dermatology still lacks minority representation,” she says. “Though diversity in OB-GYN is greater, there are still gaps in patient outcomes based on race. Through my career, I will pursue my passion of health care equity in the clinic, hospital and community.”
Regardless of the specialty she matches into in 2020, Brioso Rubio knows exactly the kind of relationship she wants to cultivate with her patients.
“I aim to have a physician-patient partnership based on mutual respect and trust,” she says. “I want to create a safe environment for my patients, so they know I am mindful of their finances, education and cultural beliefs. I am on their side.”