Dr. Luis Haro was born in a rural town of 400 people in Mexico.
On Tuesday, the chief of Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals & Clinics Emergency Medicine Department explained how he worked his way to becoming a doctor in the United States. Haro was the keynote speaker at the Hispanic Business Alliance Fifth Annual Achievers Awards Luncheon.
Haro, 43, was born to a farmer. When he was 2, the family moved to the nearest big city, Guadalajara, Mexico, and he was 7 when his father moved to the United States in search of better opportunity. The family soon joined him in Chicago, where his dad worked as a dishwasher and where Haro had to repeat the third grade twice because of the language barrier after getting perfect grades in the third grade in Mexico, he said.
Less than 10 years later, the family moved back to Mexico and found Guadalajara was not the city they left, he said. When he was 13, Haro's mother and brother moved back to the United States, but he stayed in Mexico with his father.
Haro attended college and medical school there and was ranked as the No. 1 medical resident in Mexico when he decided to go back to the U.S. He applied to the more than 100 resident programs in the country and did not receive a single reply. He had sold his car and moved here with $50, had no job and walked into the residency program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston to plead for an interview. After first being turned away, he left a note for the residency director, talking her into meeting with him.
Haro promised to be the best resident the hospital ever had and was given the opportunity, he said. But the resident program didn't start for three months and with no money, no one would hire him. He started his own business teaching CPR, spent $25 on advertising and within a few weeks was charging $25 an hour.
Three years later, he became chief resident at the Houston hospital. He went on to work in the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he served as instructor, trauma director and chairman of the Practice Management Committee.
After eight years of living in Minnesota, he said he began looking to move south to warmer weather, when he met a person from Tyler while speaking at a lecture in Croatia. He was recruited to come to Trinity Mother Frances Hospitals & Clinics as its chief of emergency medicine.
"I'm truly honored to be a part of my team ... It is people who care for people," he said. "This is a tremendous community."
Haro said he hopes to one day see pediatric and geriatric emergency rooms dedicated in Tyler.
"It all starts in a little place with no lighting ..." Haro said of his life. "Everywhere you go there is excellence. You just have to look for it and get inspired by it."
He said there was excellence of the group of about 400 people at the awards luncheon.
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