Honoring Hispanic Scientist and Researchers

25 Sep 2020

Dr. Helen Rodriguez Trías, (1929-2001), First Latina President of the American Health Association

Dr. Helen Rodriguez Trías

(Photo, inset right) DR. HELEN RODRIGUEZ-TRIAS: Latina pioneer in American medicine & public health. Photo: Jim Hansen/Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Trias was born in Puerto Rico and moved to New York City. As a child, she experienced bias for simply being Latina and was “placed in a class with students who were academically handicapped, even though she had good grades and knew how to speak English,” according to Wikipedia. Dr. Trias later went on to graduate from medical school at Universidad de Puerto Rico with the highest honors. Her accomplishments include founding the first center for newborn children in Puerto Rico and serving as Director of Pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital in South Bronx, NY. In addition, Dr. Trias went on to lead the New York City Department of Health Mental Hygiene. She helped “bring national attention to the devastation caused by HIV and AIDS among inner-city mothers and children. In 1993, the American Public Health Association elected her their first Latina president.”

Severo Ochoa, Academic, Chemist, Scientist (1905-1993)

Severo Ochoa

This Spanish-American biochemist and molecular biologist was co-awarded the 1959 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for “discovering an enzyme that enables the synthesis of RNA,” according to Biography.com.

Luis Federico Leloir, Chemist, Scientist (1906–1987)

Luis Federico Leloir

(Photo, inset right) Luis Federico Leloir. Photo: MaterialScientist/Wikimedia Commons)

This French-born Latino scientist received the 1970 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for discovery and study of sugar nucleotides, ‘which help the body store certain sugars and transform them into energy,” says Biographyc.com. He established the Institute for Biochemical Research in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1947.

Bernardo Alberto Houssay, Doctor, Physiologist (1887–1971)

Bernardo Alberto Houssay

This Argentinean-born pioneer became a doctor by age 23. Biography.com says “he founded an institute of physiology but would be dismissed by President Juan Perón.” He won a Nobel Prize in 1947 for research on the role of pituitary hormones in the regulation of blood sugar according to Biography.com