SAN ANTONIO - – Victoria Delano is a San Antonian originally from Nigeria.
Amy Baristain a first generation Mexican-American from San Antonio’s south side.
They are two women with different cultural backgrounds, yet in many ways they are the same.
“Like many minorities, I experienced a lot of health disparities, educational disparities, unfortunately, and financial difficulties,” Baristain said.
“I’m originally from Nigeria where we don’t have that good healthcare infrastructure. A lot of people die from common diseases that they shouldn’t,” Delano said.
They both just fulfilled dreams of getting into medical school.
Baristain will be attending Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Ft. Worth and Delano is going to University of the Incarnate Word.
On top of that, they are the two San Antonio recipients of a coveted $10,000 scholarship from the Texas Medical Association Foundation.
The Bayardo Scholarship is for minority medical students determined to create change in the medical field. It has been in existence since 1998, but recent large contributions allowed for the scholarship to increase per recipient from $5,000 to $10,000.
“Of course there’s academics involved. Their undergraduate scholastic achievements, of course. But also making sure that we award these scholarships to a diverse population of students, and more importantly that this diverse population is interested in coming back, giving back,” said Texas Medical Association President Dr. E. Linda Villarreal.
Villarreal said it’s important that people across Texas and the nation are able to find doctors that they can relate to.
“One of the reasons minorities don’t seek medical care is because it’s not available to them, it’s too costly, or simply because there’s not an established trust between and physician and the patient,” Baristain said.
Baristain hopes her residency will allow her to come back to San Antonio so she can practice medicine in underserved communities like the South Side.
“When you’re a provider and you can relate with your patient from the same background, or similar background, there’s trust. So when you tell them to do something they follow through,” Delano said.
Delano has called San Antonio home for more than 20 years and hopes to offer this community her medical services as well. She said the best way to give back to her home in Africa will be volunteer medical missions, which she is excited to be a part of in the future.
Villarreal said the patients of these future doctors and the the other 13 scholarship recipients will be very lucky.
“When you can actually go see a doctor who knows your culture, who knows your language, it is so much easier to go to that office. There is a relationship that enhances wellness, compliance, medical adherence when they can actually have that comfort level,” she said.