The Cobarrubias children are on their way to health care careers, living their mother’s unfulfilled dream.
Living their mother Amelia’s dream, four Cobarrubias children are studying at OSU.
Amelia longed to become a medical practitioner. But the tiny Mexican village where she grew up offered scant opportunities for girls. So she carried her dream to Oregon where her husband Florencio found work in the orchards of Hood River.
More than a decade later, widowed and juggling three low-wage jobs to raise her eight children alone, she still nurtured her childhood wish to bring health care and healing to those in need. But the dream was no longer for herself. Almost like a genetic gift, Amelia had passed it along to her offspring, math and science whizzes all.
Four of them — Genobeva, Florencio Jr., Elizabeth, and Kristina — are enrolled in pre-health programs at OSU. Majoring in microbiology and German, Genobeva (Genny) plans to go on for an M.D. in pediatrics. Kristina is in pre-dentistry, thinking about a children’s practice. Florencio is in pre-pharmacy, hoping to own his own pharmaceuticals business someday. And Elizabeth, with a major in biochemistry/biophysics, wants to be a surgeon, probably a cardiologist.
“At least one-quarter of the students in the College of Science are preparing for health professions,” says the Northwest’s most experienced pre-health adviser, Chere Pereira, who guides OSU’s pre-medical and pre-dental students from orientation through professional-school application.
“OSU’s pre-health programs are well-respected throughout the country,” says Pereira. “Our students are not only well-trained, they tend to be resourceful and grounded in the real world.”
With so many underserved ethnic communities across the United States, cultural competence is, Pereira notes, a big plus for prospective medical students. So, in partnership with OHSU, Oregon State is supporting greater diversity in health professions through special programs. And, through IE3 Global Internships, undergrads can get international experience working side-by-side with doctors in Bolivia, Mexico, Ecuador, India and South Africa.
For the bilingual and trilingual Cobarrubias siblings (in high school, Genny and Elizabeth studied in Germany and Italy, respectively), cultural competence is a given. Add to that their single-minded focus on achieving their goals, and it appears their mother’s lifelong dream will finally be realized — in quadruplicate.