Sandra Vazquez Salas is currently completing her fourth year as a medical student here at COM-T. She will be graduating in May with distinctions in Community Service, Rural Health, and Medical Spanish. After graduation, Sandra will be heading to Johns Hopkins in Baltimore for a residency in Pathology. She chose this specialty after seeing the comfort and answers pathology reports provided patients in the clinical setting, and during histological examinations.
It was Sandra’s personal experiences and hardships that caused her to become interested in a career in medicine. Sandra was raised in the small town of Cuernavaca, Mexico. It was during this time that she experienced the reality of being underserved. “My family and I endured economic and social challenges that prevented us from accessing basic services, including medical care. Due to the great poverty and lack of opportunities, my mother made the tough decision for us to immigrate to the United States, leaving my father behind…. Four years after we left, my father unexpectedly passed away from a stroke caused by untreated hypertension. My devotion to medicine stemmed from my upbringing and father’s illness. I wanted to help others overcome the many challenges I had to face, and work towards closing the gaps for people to afford and have access to healthcare.”
Sandra is very proud of her Mexican heritage, traditions, and values. She is also proud of the Hispanic Women’s Scholarship she received upon entering medical school. “Receiving this scholarship gave me the validation that someone else believed in me – even if I didn’t quite believe in myself yet.”
In her free time, Sandra enjoys caring for over 200+ indoor plants. “Watering, fertilizing, pest-control, rehabbing, and shining the leaves keeps me a bit busy. I also love hybridizing plants, specifically anthuriums. I keep a container with different types of pollen in my freezer to pollinate when flowers become receptive.”