Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Name of Undergraduate Institution(s): Fairfield University (Fairfield, CT); Columbia University (New York, NY)
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College:
Major: Information Systems and Operations Management
Minor: Mathematics – Fairfield University
Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Sciences Certificate – Columbia University
Name of Medical School: University of Chicago
Residency Program: University of California, San Francisco, Pediatrics
Fellowship Program: Children’s National Hospital, Pediatric Hospital Medicine
Favorite Quote: “Treat a man as he is and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he can and should be, and he will become as he can and should be.” – Johann von Goethe
Contact Info: I can be emailed at email@example.com.
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
At Children’s National Hospital, I serve in multiple capacities.
First, I am a Pediatric Hospitalist Attending and Clinical Instructor – so I spend a good deal of time seeing patients and working with our wonderful medical students and residents. I chose pediatrics because I truly enjoy working with children and their families. I love pediatric physiology, the pathologies, the family dynamics, and am very drawn to working with children with medical complexity and their caregivers. Working in an environment where I get to encounter all of these facets of pediatric medicine and also get to engage with, and learn from, our wonderful residents makes my job ideal for me.
Second, I am the Medical Unit Director of Pharmacy where I work to marry the efforts of our physicians and our pharmacists to improve the quality and safety of our medication ordering, delivery, and administration. I didn’t decide to pursue this career path – it found me as an opportunity that was offered to me as I was finishing fellowship. However, being married to a pharmacist, I have learned how underutilized our pharmacy colleagues are at most institutions, and how we can truly transform our culture of medication safety by leveraging their strengths better. In this role, I hope to do just that: to increase the synergy between physicians and pharmacists for the benefit of our patients.
Third, I serve as the Director of Diversity Recruitment and Inclusion for our pediatric residency program. As someone who is bi-cultural (my mother is white and was born and raised in DC, and my father was born and raised in Mexico City) and who was born and raised in a different country – I am the product, and representative of, diversity. Furthermore, I am now married to a Vietnamese-American woman – so my life continues to diversify, and I love it. Without sounding too cliché, diversity makes life wonderful and we are better people (and communities) for it. As such, I bring this perspective to my role as our residency program continues to work to build a residency program that is not only diverse, but inclusive and equitable.
If you could go back and have a chat with your 1st year postgraduate self, what would you tell him?
Use your time in training to develop into the provider you want to be. Watch everyone around you and learn from them. See what your colleagues, peers, supervisors do well, and assimilate it into your practice (while discarding the things they don’t do well). Every interaction can (and should) be a learning experience.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
After college I worked in the corporate world for a total of 6 years. That career made me miserable – it was terribly difficult to get up and into work each day. I realized that I wasn’t happy, but I also knew that a career change would require more years of school (and tuition). But I listened to, and understood, myself enough to realize that continuing down that initial path (and staying in the corporate world) would make for a very unhappy life. So, I took it upon myself to make the change and I couldn’t be happier.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to residency?
When putting together your application, try to do it in a way that builds a story and really puts who you are and what makes you unique on display. When I go through many applications, the standardized scores and grades are good to have – but they are easily forgotten. However, a compelling narrative that highlights who you are, what your strengths are, and what makes you different will stick with me for the whole residency application season (if not longer).
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I love the flexibility. I really enjoy going from working with residents and seeing patients, to addressing a medication ordering issue, to working with our program leadership to ensure that our residency is as diverse and equitable as possible – all in one day! I am lucky enough to work with many different types of people in order to make a difference in multiple arenas all the time!
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I have a Master’s of Science in Health Sciences (MSHS) in Health Care Quality – which gave me the background in quality improvement that helped me land the job as Medical Unit Director of Pharmacy.
What has been your favorite memory so far in your career?
It’s not so much of a memory but rather a feeling. My favorite feeling is knowing that the people I care most about are proud of my accomplishments. They’ve given up a lot (and, in the case of my wife, continue to do so) for me to get where I am – so it is very gratifying to know that they feel like their sacrifices have been worth it.
How do you manage to balance your work life, your romantic relationship, and your family life?
Finding balance is difficult – and doesn’t usually come naturally or automatically. It is also not something I’d say I’ve mastered at all. All I can say is that it requires a lot of intentionality, practice, and revision – and surrounding yourself with people who will forgive you (and help you forgive yourself) when you make a mistake.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love to watch my son grow. He’s almost 3 so he is growing and developing by the second – right before my eyes. As a pediatrician, I always knew that kids developed quickly, but watching him do it in real time is the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s pure magic.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I have loved music since I was a little boy. I love many different kinds of music, so narrowing down my favorite musicians is tough. But, in a pinch, my top 3 would be John Coltrane, Deftones, and Café Tacvba (a rock band from back home).
Thank you so much for all of your incredible answers and for being so open with us Dr. Escalante! It is amazing to hear what life as an academic physician is like from your perspective. Your words will be incredibly helpful to many of the people who read this!
Posted on February 15th, 2021