Healing the Divide Amongst Physicians and His Community: Diego’s Changemaker Journey

Diego, a changemaker from Mexico, is activating his peers in medical school to develop the skills of empathy, emotional intelligence, and active listening so they can better support the health and wellbeing of their patients.
Diego Young Changemaker

This story was written by Luiza Moreno Ribeiro and edited for length and clarity.

Since he was young, Diego has immersed himself with like-minded people who are driven to instigate change. His experience participating in the Model United Nations in elementary school sparked the confidence in him to believe that in the future, he could be someone who could make a positive difference in his community, and eventually the world. With a passion for learning and the ultimate goal of driving change, he decided to immerse himself in the field of Medicine.

As a Medical student in Mexico, he has recognized that many doctors lack the approach to empathize and communicate effectively with their patients. The pandemic entrenched the issue in his mind, further emphasized by how physicians act as a bridge between the patients and their families at the moment. Anguished by the violence in his community that has been fueled by misinformation and distrust in medical professionals, Diego embarked on an entrepreneurial journey to heal the ideological divide between physicians and the members of his community.

Diego heard stories of violent attacks against nurses, from burning them with hot coffee, to neighbors burning down nurse’s houses due to fear of infection. He noticed society divided among issues of vaccines and viral safety, whilst not accepting science as facts. Realizing the long-term consequences of this rift, and his responsibility as a young student in the field, Diego decided to revamp the goals for his venture Future Education.

The ideation for the venture, however, actually began six months before the pandemic, but due to the circumstances, Diego and his team had to reimagine their approach so that they could deliver the same quality online and deal with the pressing issues.

Through Future Education, Diego and his team work on developing soft skills such as empathy, emotional intelligence, and active listening in young physicians so they can better support patients both physically and emotionally. He believes that as long as physicians develop these skills, they can become more trustworthy, and therefore limit the amount of fake news and resistance towards medical advice. He believes this to be a two-front problem: one directly with the people and one with the doctors.

Propelled by his ultimate goal to make science and knowledge widely accessible, Diego and his team began hosting experiential education webinars with workshops and activities centered around fake news and COVID-19. He wanted to establish a community where students could learn about the importance of soft skills in the medical field through research and humanism.

However, this was not always a smooth process. When Diego first developed the workshops for undergraduate students at his university, very few people attended. Most students agreed that soft skills were important in the field, but not as crucial as the hard skills being the hands-on procedural skills technicians learn in labs.

“We are all going to fail at one point, but one of the things that keep you going is knowing that there are other people out there who are trying to change the world as well."

“The human aspect of the job is equally important, if not more, and people need to have time for it. That is the big challenge,” he shares.

Yet, these obstacles have only encouraged him to push further and consider alternative means of innovation. To provide a more controlled, but more immersive setup, Diego intends on partnering with a simulation clinic. The workshops will incorporate special robots that act as patients. In order to develop soft skills such as empathy, effective communication, and active listening, the robots will be programmed to talk and react.

Alongside his mentor, Yanniz Valadez, and his friend, Mitzi Gonzalez, who has a venture of her own, Diego developed the courage to educate and inspire other young students and community members on these issues. In school, Diego, Mitzi, and other passionate students would meet at Valadez’s office during lunch to brainstorm social entrepreneurial ideas and solutions for the future. “I think those were the most valuable moments when we isolated from the world and tried to create and solve all of our problems together,” he shares.

His advice to other young people who are driven to make a change is to remember that you are never alone. “We are all going to fail at one point, but one of the things that keep you going is knowing that there are other people out there who are trying to change the world as well."

Diego's trajectory thus far has been long and convoluted. While it is always easier to identify the needs of a community, proposing solutions are often accompanied by hindrances of their own. Dissenting opinions can make our efforts seem futile, but fortunately for Diego, through collaboration and problem-solving, he has been encouraged to continue onward. As other young changemakers are mobilizing to instill long-lasting and collective change, Diego aims to associate with non-profits in Monterrey and expand to different countries and universities to transform the lives and futures of our society.