If He Won the Lottery Tomorrow, He'd Still Come To Work Every Day September 22, 2023
Hispanic Heritage Month
From humble beginnings – washing dishes for $4 an hour – Arturo Bravo Nuevo, PhD, eventually got his big break. Born in Spain, he moved to New Zealand and then Australia
– where he volunteered in a research lab by day and washed dishes by night.
“I was very poor,” he shared. “I was sitting at the soup kitchen every day and living
in a house with eleven guys and just one bathroom.”
After a year of lab work without pay, his principal investigator became increasingly
interested in Bravo Nuevo's life goals.
“He asked me about my situation, and I told him I was there illegally,” Bravo Nuevo
shared. “He then offered me a scholarship to get my PhD and money so I didn't have
to wash dishes anymore. He changed my life”.
Now, his approach to teaching is guided by those experiences as he works to create
opportunities for all students, especially those of Hispanic and Latino descent.
“The United States is a race of hurdles, and we need to establish a system to help
Hispanic students jump over them,” he said.
Acknowledging the rigorous steps to get to medical school, he believes it may be difficult for students who have nobody guiding them through
“You need someone to teach you how to write an essay to get into college, how to apply
for financial aid, how to take the MCAT. Then, you need money to apply,” he explained.
“All of those hurdles are set up in a way that helps people from a higher economic
background. We need to make medical school something that isn't as hard as reaching
the moon for Hispanic students.”
Bringing important lessons to PCOM, one of his proudest moments was helping create
the Medical Spanish course. The class gives Spanish-speaking medical students key phrases to use when interacting
with patients. With 57 million Spanish speakers in the country, even a few sentences
could help improve a medical interaction.
“It can be stressful,” he said. “Even now, when I'm working in an environment where
everyone is an English speaker, I know that once they hear my accent their attitude
“If you can put people at ease by speaking their language, you help them become more
open to talking with you.”
Thinking ahead, Bravo Nuevo will continue his important research and hopes to slow the progression of blindness. In addition, teaching also remains a top priority and something he could never be
persuaded to give up.
“Honestly, if I won the lottery tomorrow – like Mega Millions, I would still come
to work every day,” he said.
“I love teaching, I love the students, I love the diversity of PCOM. It's the perfect job for me.”
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.
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About Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) has trained thousands
of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists
who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms.
PCOM operates three campuses (PCOM, PCOM Georgia and PCOM South Georgia) and offers doctoral degrees in clinical psychology, educational psychology, osteopathic
medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and school psychology, and graduate degrees in
applied behavior analysis, applied positive psychology, biomedical sciences, forensic
medicine, medical laboratory science, mental health counseling, non profit leadership
and population health management, organizational development and leadership, physician
assistant studies, school psychology, and public health management and administration.
PCOM students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service
to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care
to medically underserved populations. For more information, visit pcom.edu or call 215-871-6100.
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