Amanda Hernandez, MD, Ph.D. is proud of her Hispanic heritage and to be a physician.
“I am Puerto Rican. Both my parents came from Puerto Rico, and I am the first in my family to graduate college, go to medical school, and to become a doctor,” says Hernandez, assistant professor of neurology at UConn Health. “I went into medicine to improve bilingual, compassionate care. The type of work I do honors my Hispanic heritage.”
She adds: “In health care it’s important to celebrate our Hispanic heritage and show the spirit of our people and the various ways we identify as Latinx,” says Hernandez. “I have found UConn Health to be very welcoming, inclusive and supportive.”
Hernandez joined UConn Health at the start of 2023 and cares for neuroimmunology patients experiencing conditions such as multiple sclerosis, neuropathy, and other inflammatory immune system diseases. She has expertise in using botox and Electromyography (EMG) for her patient care. She is from New York City, graduated from Columbia University with a BA and completed her MD and Ph.D. at Yale University along with her neurology residency and neuromuscular fellowship training.
“UConn Health as an academic medical center checks all the boxes for me, especially as I have a passion for teaching. I am super happy teaching the UConn medical students. It’s really amazing to be a part of the evolution of medical education and learning process for doctors in training. Plus, it’s nice to be able to balance my clinical, academic, and research work,” says Hernandez.
“Working in health care can be a challenging environment. UConn has awesome people and doctors carrying the torch forward for future generations of doctors for years to come,” she says. “It is a close-knit community with lots of smart people who really care about their patients, colleagues, trainees and students. Also, nurses and support staff make my work possible with their professionalism and warmth.”
She adds: “Everyone is passionate about working and learning at UConn.”
Hernandez is a past national president of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) and currently oversees LMSA’s Northeast region as a faculty advisor helping to mentor Latinx medical students attending schools that fall between Maine and Washington, D.C. She is also UConn School of Medicine’s LMSA Chapter Advisor.
“LMSA is a lot of fun!” says Hernandez who shares how as a Latina it’s been a meaningful journey to build a career in medicine and further, how there are still hurdles to overcome to afford ongoing opportunities for those historically under-represented in medicine. Many Latinx students may be first-generation college graduates and often face specific and unique challenges throughout their educational trajectory.
“There is a long way to go to make sure our country’s future health care workforce mirrors the communities we serve,” she stresses. “It’s important for Latinx medical students and trainees to advocate for what they need and feel empowered to respectfully and unapologetically be themselves as they carry forward in their medical careers. Always be your best self on a daily basis.”
Hernandez is thrilled of UConn Health’s proximity to Hispanic communities such as in nearby New Britain, East Hartford, and Hartford.
“UConn Health is here for the Latinx community to provide the best care possible, build trust, and comfortably care for you,” says Hernandez this Hispanic Heritage month and always. “And provide the best medical education and training experience for Latinx individuals too.”