Jan 10, 2012, 1:00 PM, Posted by Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa
Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa, MD, is an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program. He is director of the brain tumor program at Johns Hopkins’ Bayview campus, and an associate professor of neurosurgery and oncology at Johns Hopkins University. Read more about Quinones-Hinojosa here.
Human Capital Blog: When you came to the United States, you started as a migrant worker and worked your way up to the renowned brain surgeon you are today. Why did you choose brain surgery?
Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa: A lot of times, especially when I first came to Johns Hopkins, patients sensed that I had an accent and I didn’t fit the stereotype of a brain surgeon. Sometimes comments came out of their mouths that would really upset my staff. But at the end of the day we’re all the same. No matter how different we are from one another, our brains are all the same. The same beautiful color, same shape and size. I can’t tell the difference between brains of different races, religions or classes.
Brain cancer is dangerous and devastating. I believe it’s a horrendous disease that affects the most beautiful organ of our body. That’s why I dedicated my life to try to find a cure. I don’t know if I’m going to find a cure but I‘m going to give it my best. I want to give my patients hope by knowing there’s someone like me who has made his life purpose to try to find a cure.
HCB: You recently published a book titled “Becoming Dr. Q: My Journey from Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon.” What inspired you to write the book?
Quinones-Hinojosa: A lot of people have written about me – journals, magazines, newspapers – but I don’t think they get me. They get excited about my past, which I am very proud of and clearly it’s the reason I am who I am today. But the book is really about my present and the future, what’s really exciting about my life. The book talks about how I battle life and death every day inside and outside of the operating room, and my own experiences and brushes with death – some that I’ve never told anybody before. And I relate all that to my experiences with my patients, and what it’s like to battle brain cancer. I am in the business of giving hope. I dedicated the book to my patients and their families and all those people who believe in me, who have given me an opportunity to do what I do today. They trust me with the life of their loved ones and their own lives, and I thank them and my family for being right next to me during these adventures.