Ricardo Correa, MD, is the program director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Fellowship and director of diversity and inclusion for graduate medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix. He has done extensive research on complications from diabetes in the Hispanic population.
When Ricardo Correa, MD, was a teenager, he learned something that would set his path as a physician: how hormones facilitate communication among cells.
"That triggered me to think that if we can understand how hormones connect in the cells, we will be able to solve many problems," he says.
After medical school in Panama, he went on to residency and in 2016 completed an endocrinology and neuroendocrinology fellowship at the National Institutes of Health.
He came away committed to addressing care disparities he saw, particularly in diabetes management. "For patients who had insurance, they had all the medication I could offer them," Correa says. "But while volunteering in a charity clinic, I couldn't offer the same thing to [those patients]. There was a big gap."
So he started a program called A Healthy Life, in which uninsured patients who have diabetes use peer support to help others make changes in their lives. They end up being role models and transform into teachers, Correa says.
The newer participants are integrated into the clinic and are connected to Zumba and dancing classes, cooking sessions, and spiritual guidance.
"Instead of looking at it as a place where you'll receive only treatment, it became the center for the community," Correa says.
As the program director of the Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism Fellowship and director of diversity and inclusion for graduate medical education at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix, he's also working to shape the next generation of healthcare providers and ensure that they resemble the patient population. For example, he says, Phoenix's population is about 35% Hispanic, yet just 6% of physicians are Hispanic, including students, resident fellows, and faculty members.
"To decrease that [care] gap in the healthcare system, you have to have people who look like you at every level to provide the best care possible to those patients," Correa says.
As part of Medscape's celebration of our 25th anniversary this year, we're recognizing 25 young physicians who are rising stars in medicine, poised to become future leaders of their fields. View the full list here.
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Cite this: Medscape at 25: Recognizing Medicine's Rising Stars - Medscape - Dec 07, 2020.