Georgetown doctor makes history as youngest Latina to lead breast surgery program – NBC4 Washington

Youngest Latina to lead a breast surgery program in the United States at a large, hands-on academic medical center in DC

Dr. Lucy Maria De La Cruz, 39, has been practicing medicine since 2016, devoting her work to women’s health. She had considered being chief of surgery for years.

The call that made her dreams a reality came at an ironic moment: De La Cruz was having a mammogram about a year ago when Betty Lou Ourisman Breast Health Center offered her the job of program manager for breast surgery at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.

“I had always thought of, you know, being a chef, a program director, and I just didn’t think that would happen at this early stage in my career,” De La Cruz said.

She grew up in Cuba, where her parents were doctors and researched AIDS in Africa as a little girl, inspiring her passion for medicine from an early age. Her mother made her a little white coat and she walked around the lab telling everyone she was going to be a future doctor.

De La Cruz completed her medical school in the Dominican Republic, and eventually she and her family came to the United States under political asylum. As a Hispanic immigrant, working in the medical field was not easy for her.

“When you say you’re a Latina, an immigrant, a foreign medical graduate applying for a very competitive field…it’s like a multi-layered hurdle that you overcome,” she said.

Hispanics are a minority in the field, making up about 6% of people working in medicine and surgery, De La Cruz said. When she had doubts or fear, she reminded herself that everything was worth it, even if it was not going to be easy.

“If it’s not true, if it’s not pure, if it’s not right, then I don’t listen to it,” she said.

“Above all, I have to thank God for being here, and I think there’s a purpose for me being in this position,” she said.

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