Courtesy of Yale Medical Group

Growing up in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Marietta Vazquez' doctor's visits would often turn into long question-and-answer sessions. Vazquez was a serious ballet dancer who had a clubfoot with complications arising from its treatment. The New York surgeon who successfully operated on her foot "really motivated me towards medicine," says Vazquez, while her pediatrician became her role model.

But as Vazquez trained to be a physician herself, such role models were in short supply. "There were no Hispanics whatsoever in the department, [and] there weren't a lot of women who were trying to balance family and career and research," says the mother of 3-year-old twins, now an assistant professor and clinician-researcher at the Yale University School of Medicine. "It's important to see other people do this."

Vazquez is the first in her family to enter science or medicine as a career; her parents, Cuban...

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