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Dr. Catalina Esperanza Garcia

Dr. Catalina Esperanza Garcia grew-up in el Segundo Barrio, one of El Paso’s oldest and poorest neighborhoods. While her family didn’t have much, Catalina recalls that there was always the belief that through education and hard work anything could be achieved. Catalina remembers always wanting to become a doctor. “In sports they tell you to imagine making the perfect shot, well for me the perfect shot was walking down the hospital corridor, dressed as a physician in a white coat with a stethoscope.”

Dr. Garcia obtained her bachelor’s degree in biology from Texas Western College, now UTEP, in 1961. In 1969 she realized her dream of becoming a doctor, and became the second Latina to graduate from UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas where she has lived and worked as an anesthesiologist for over 50 years. Dr. Garcia has been actively involved in civic affairs, with a strong desire to help young Hispanic women succeed. In 2015, she established the Dr. Catalina E. Garcia Student Enhancement Endowment, which supports cultural immersion activities for students in the UTEP’s Medical Profession’s Institute (MPI). Her gifts made it possible for MPI students to travel to the Dominican Republic to research the clinical practices in the rural province of Santiago.

“It really broadens your mind when you work in another country and see how other people live. Those experiences provide important lessons on how to interact as helpers and physicians to other cultures, so that they can learn about us and we can learn about them.” Dr. Garcia hopes to give back to UTEP students for generations to come. She has made a provision in her will to make additional gifts to UTEP to help students achieve their professional aspirations.

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