Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Latinx / Hispanic Cultural Event

Lindsey Diaz-MacInnis (BIDMC Communications) 617-667-7372, ldiaz2@bidmc.harvard.edu

DECEMBER 04, 2019

Recently the BIDMC community came together to honor an important milestone: Ten years of celebrating Latinx/Hispanic culture at BIDMC.

Each year, BIDMC celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring individuals or groups who have made significant contributions in advancing care for the Latinx/Hispanic community. Contributions range from implementing initiatives that benefit Latinx/Hispanic patients at the hospital, such as the Latino Rheumatology Clinic at Beth Israel Deaconess HealthCare-Chelsea, to volunteerism abroad.

Albert Galaburda, MD, received the 2019 Achievement Award for 10 years of unwavering commitment and support to BIDMC’s Latinx/Hispanic Achievement Awards.

“Dr. Galaburda is an avid supporter of diversity and inclusion,” said Pete Healy, President of BIDMC. “He has been a passionate leader of these efforts many years, ever before there was as much ground swell of support, and he has been very involved in this event for the last 10 years,” said Healy.

Accepting his award, Galaburda provided an explanation behind the change of the event name, which had previously been the Latino and Hispanic Achievement Awards.

“’Latinx’ is a gender-neutral term used as an alternative to Latino (male) or Latina (female),” explained Galaburda, a neurologist and the Director of the Office for Diversity, Inclusion and Career Advancement at BIDMC. “The usage of the ‘x’ instead of the ‘o’ or the ‘a’ at the end of the word ‘Latinx’ is important as it is inclusive of those in the Latin community who are gender non-conforming. In the spirit of inclusivity, we thought it appropriate to change our original event name from ‘Latino’ to ‘Latinx’ to reflect the diversity of our Latin and Hispanic patients and staff.”

“For us, being inclusive, being welcoming, celebrating our differences, and having occasions like this where we can truly celebrate is an incredibly important part of the BIDMC culture,” said Healy. “It’s been an important part of our organizational culture for many years.”

Event keynote speaker Rosario Ubiera-Minaya, Executive Director of Amplify Latinx, an afro-Latina leader, community activist and social entrepreneur, reflected on her own journey emigrating from the Dominican Republic to the United States at the age of 15 and encouraged the audience to continue championing and elevating each other.

“If spaces are not created for you, disrupt – and create them for yourselves,” she said. “Who we see thriving in the world teaches us how to see ourselves, how to think about our own value and how to dream about our future.”

Leonor Fernandez, MD, an internist at BIDMC, who is also a member of the Latinx/Hispanic Cultural Event Planning Committee and a past awardee, spoke about the duende – a quality of passion and inspiration – that filled the room at the event.

“To have duende is to truly inhabit a moment, to be fully present,” said Fernandez. “What better way to describe what we do as health care professionals when we are at our best?  When we support a daughter as she holds her father’s hand through a good death, we have duende. When we empower a man with limited formal education to make meaningful choices for his cancer treatment, we have duende. When we enable a patient to reach us on the phone in Spanish, so that they actually see that they matter to us, we have duende.”

About Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a leading academic medical center, where extraordinary care is supported by high-quality education and research. BIDMC is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School, and consistently ranks as a national leader among independent hospitals in National Institutes of Health funding. BIDMC is the official hospital of the Boston Red Sox.

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center is a part of Beth Israel Lahey Health, a health care system that brings together academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, community and specialty hospitals, more than 4,700 physicians and 39,000 employees in a shared mission to expand access to great care and advance the science and practice of medicine through groundbreaking research and education.