Wow! That's all I can say about listening to this podcast interview of Dr. Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa. Dr. Q, as he's called, jumped the fence from Mexico and worked on farms in California before going on to become a renowned brain surgeon at Johns Hopkins. I highly recommend you listen to the podcast to find out how he made such an amazing journey. If Dr. Q isn't living the American dream, I don't know anyone who is!
The highlights of the interview (and there are plenty), include his story about working on the farm, then attending a local community college in his spare time to learn English. I can't help but wonder how many anti-immigration types he encountered along the way who saw him working in the fields and thought he was a lazy Mexican, on welfare, who had no desire to learn English or better his life?
In fact, Dr. Q encountered some of those types during his first few years at Johns Hopkins. In the interview, he tells of patients asking his staff if there is anyone else to treat him other than "a dirty Mexican." Dr. Q, with his amazing positivity and inability to let anything keep him down, told his staff that some of the patients they see suffer not only from biological brain diseases, but also social diseases. And sure enough, many of those patients, after being treated, would later apologize to Dr. Q or his staff.
The whole interview is fascinating, not only with regards to immigration and the American dream, but with regards to medicine, education, hard work, and the amazing American sense of life that so many immigrants bring with them to this country. The interview is a tad over an hour long, but well worth your time! It's certainly one of the most inspirational stories I've heard in quite awhile.
Here are some other links regarding Dr. Q:
Transcript of a NOVA interview: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/brain-surgeon.html
I would like to thank Jim W. for forwarding me this amazing interview!