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Alumni Profile - Denise Infante

12/17/12

 

According to Dr. Denise Infante, attending pediatrician at Gouverneur Healthcare Services in New York City, physicians have a responsibility to fulfill dual roles—doctor and teacher— and she takes both very seriously, especially when it comes to the Latino community.

“When translated, the Latin word for ‘doctor’ means ‘teacher.’ I still remember reading that in medical school and thinking how true it is. That’s the immortality of medicine—you absorb everything you can, perform your best, and then teach what you have learned to someone else.”

Although Infante always knew she wanted to work with children, she didn’t decide to become a physician until her sophomore year at St. John’s University.

“You’re a much happier person when you work with children, whether it’s treating them or teaching them. Their smile can brighten up your day and it’s such a fun, hopeful atmosphere.

There was a time, however, when I didn’t think I’d be able to be a physician. When I was young, I used to faint at the sight of blood and I didn’t think I could get over the fear. But once I was accepted into college and started doing healthcare volunteer work, I decided that I did want to pursue a career in medicine—which was ironic because when I graduated from eighth grade, my teachers predicted that this was the path I would take.”

For Infante, going to Ross was a maturing experience. “My mother was very ill at one point and I had to leave in the middle of the semester, but everyone—from the faculty to the students—were very supportive and understanding. She passed away and I went back two weeks later and continued my studies. That’s what I mean about it being a maturing experience. Ross was my home after a major tragedy. It was a turning point, professionally and personally.”

“Ross gave me the opportunity to pursue my dreams and accomplish them.”

At Gouverneur, Infante works with many underinsured and uninsured children. She also works directly with the New York Department of Health, teaches first-year medical students at NYU Medical School, and is involved in healthcare media with appearances on NBC, ABC, Tiempo and Univision.

“My experiences with the media have been fabulous. It gives me the opportunity to teach on critical issues, such as childhood obesity and the importance of vaccinations. I’ve been fortunate in that whenever I go through one door in my career, another opportunity presents itself. I’m grateful for where I am in my life right now, living my dream along with my husband, son and daughter.”