When asked what Hispanic Heritage Month means to her, Natasha Wolf Pacheco, MD, a primary care physician at Mercy Health – Youngstown Primary Care, shares the following.
“Pride. It’s a month that reminds me how proud I am to be Hispanic, how proud it makes me to come from where I come from and have the upbringing that I had.”
Since living in the United States, Dr. Pacheco says she’s learned there is a misconception that Hispanic automatically equals Mexican.
“There are so many other Hispanic cultures that are not as broadly represented,” she explains. “Hispanic Heritage Month is a good time to learn about all those other Hispanic cultures that are so unique and different in their own ways. This is a month to highlight all those countries, their culture and their people.”
Originally from Puerto Rico, Dr. Pacheco is the first in her family to follow in the footsteps of her late grandfather, who was a physician in Cuba and later in Puerto Rico after fleeing the Castro regime. Her own personal journey to a career in medicine is also one of resilience and overcoming life’s challenges.
“My father unexpectedly passed away due to suicide in my last semester of undergrad, and many doubted if I would be able to graduate, let alone attend medical school,” she says.
Nevertheless, Dr. Pacheco persevered, graduating cum laude, passing her MCATs and traveling the world before finally attending medical school and moving to the United States. Her journey has been an inspiration to those who know her and an encouragement for others to pursue their career dreams no matter what life throws at them. Dr. Pacheco’s experience with her father’s passing has also allowed many to open up to her about their own struggles with thoughts of suicide.
“It’s not just my job that inspires people, it’s the journey and how I treat people,” she adds.
We are so proud to have Dr. Pacheco on our team! Learn about the primary care services we offer at Mercy Health.