Hispanic Heritage Month: Karen Vega, DO | PCOM Georgia
Skip to main content

Supporting One Another to Become Better Individuals 
Hispanic Heritage Month

September 15, 2023

Professional headshot - Dr. Karen VegaKaren Vega, DO, is an assistant professor of osteopathic manipulative medicine at PCOM Georgia. She believes that celebrating yourself is a daily activity, but “having a dedicated month to highlight my Hispanic heritage reinforces my pride in my Puerto Rican heritage and gives me a desire to learn more about my cultural influences.”

Paying it forward

She said, “I did not walk the path the way I had envisioned I would to get to where I am today as an assistant professor and osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine specialist. Yet, I could not imagine another way for myself to have gained the experiences, relationships and increased drive to accomplish my goal of being there for others to the best of my abilities through my passion for learning and science.”

A graduate of Hunter College of the City University of New York and the Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine, Middletown, New York, Dr. Vega completed a residency in osteopathic neuromusculoskeletal medicine in 2023 in the Bronx, her hometown.

She said, “Everyone has struggles, difficulties, and moments of doubt, as I did throughout this journey. I realized no one gets through these times alone; one must always recognize that we need each other’s support to become better individuals.”

She added, “I have sought help from others who were graciously giving, and I pay it forward whenever I can, as they did for me. I have also learned to look within and provide myself with positive feedback, forgiveness, mercy and love, an ongoing journey.”

The importance of doctors who speak Spanish

Dr. Vega believes that the quality of care patients perceive they are receiving increases when their physician can speak their native language.

“I can tell by the relief in a Spanish-speaking patient’s eyes, speech and even body language when they realize their doctor can speak their language and the patient can feel free to describe their complaints. There is a comfort they feel because there is no barrier to communication as they probably expected to encounter and have likely encountered in previous visits where the language barrier was always present.”

This common language allows for a more accurate and comprehensive exchange of information during the visit and an increased participation by the patient in their care, Dr. Vega has gleaned from her experience. “This is why I believe having doctors who speak Spanish is essential.”

Currently, only six percent of physicians are Latino, while the Latino population is almost one fifth of the population. Dr. Vega hopes to see an increase in the percentage of Latino physicians. She said, “I believe the diversity of the U.S. population should be reflected in the diversity of the physician population. There is currently a disproportionality, and it has existed for too long.”

From September 15 to October 15, PCOM joins others around the country in observing Hispanic Heritage Month. This important celebration honors the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanics and Latinos everywhere. At PCOM, we recognize our faculty, students, and staff who identify as Hispanic or Latino and will highlight their stories throughout the month.

You May Also Like:

  • Affiliation Agreement to Benefit DO and PharmD Students
  • Young Harris College Pathway Program Bridges the Gap for DPT Students
  • Joy Zarandy, DO '13 - Women in Medicine Month
  • About PCOM Georgia

    Established in 2005, PCOM Georgia is a private, not-for-profit, accredited institute of higher education dedicated to the healthcare professions. The Suwanee, Georgia, campus is affiliated with Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, a premier osteopathic medical school with a storied history. PCOM Georgia offers doctoral degrees in osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, and physical therapy and graduate degrees in biomedical sciences, medical laboratory science, and physician assistant studies. Emphasizing "a whole person approach to care," PCOM Georgia focuses on educational excellence, interprofessional education and service to the wider community. For more information, visit pcom.edu/georgia or call 678-225-7500. The campus is also home to the Georgia Osteopathic Care Center, an osteopathic manipulative medicine clinic, which is open to the public by appointment. For more information, visit pcomgeorgiahealth.org.

    For more information, contact:
    Barbara Myers
    Senior Public Relations Manager
    Email: BarbaraMy@pcom.edu
    Office: 678-225-7532 | Cell: 770-309-0613

    Connect with PCOM Georgia