Local doctor helps teens achieve their dreams

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Raphael Silva is a doctor of family medicine at Kaiser Permanente in San Diego. It’s a very different life from how he grew up working the fields of California’s Salinas Valley.

“A lot of Saturdays, too many Sundays and every summer I was also a farmhand, I think of myself as kind of a retired farmhand.”

Being a farmhand was how his father supported the family. “My dad did all of this, he was a farmhand, so his job was very hands-on, hard and backbreaking work.”

But as much as Silva says he enjoyed the job, he knew he wanted a different life for himself. Eventually discovering his passion for medicine and achieving his goal of becoming a doctor, but never forgetting where he came from.

“We lean on their shoulders, we lean on their hard work and for that we should say gracias mama gracias papa.”

He is now dedicated to helping people like him realize their own potential as a member of the Hippocrates program, designed to motivate underrepresented students towards a career as a doctor.

“How can we get you thinking about a career in medicine and how can we get in touch with you and let you know you can do it.”

Junior high school students gain hands-on experience. “You just have to watch them light up to listen to their questions and hopefully we see them get into colleges and medical schools and that will be the ultimate reward.”

Silva says it’s not just good for the kids, it’s good for the community for a while. “It’s good for our region of San Diego County, the State of California, that the country brings all these young people to believe in themselves.”

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