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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Honoring Contributions in Healthcare and Exploring Cultural Events in San Diego

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 9/15-10/15 with San Diego Blood Bank

National Hispanic Heritage Month is a vibrant celebration that has been part of the American cultural fabric for over 40 years. From September 15 to October 15, we honor the history, culture, and influence of generations who came to the U.S. from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. To celebrate this month, we at San Diego Blood Bank want to honor some of the remarkable Hispanic contributors to healthcare and medicine, and offer some ideas for you to celebrate our Hispanic community in San Diego!

Hispanic Contributions to Healthcare and Medicine

Hispanic and Latino communities have made significant contributions to healthcare and medicine, enriching the field with groundbreaking discoveries, innovative practices, and compassionate care. Here are some of the luminaries who have left an indelible mark:

Photo of Dr. Antonia Novello

Antonia Novello, MD

Dr. Antonia Novello was the first woman and person of Hispanic heritage to become Surgeon General of the United States. She raised national awareness about domestic violence and underage drinking, and was among the first to focus on women with AIDS and neonatal transmission of HIV.

Visit to learn more about Antonia Novello, MD.

Photo of Dr. Serena Auñón-Chancellor

Serena Auñón-Chancellor, MD

Dr. Auñón-Chancellor is the first Hispanic physician to travel to space. She conducted experiments related to cancer and Parkinson’s disease aboard the International Space Station in 2018.

Visit NASA to learn more about Serena Auñón-Chancellor, MD.

Photo of Carlos Juan Finlay

Carlos Juan Finlay, MD

Dr. Finlay's work on yellow fever laid the foundation for understanding mosquito-borne diseases. His insights enabled the completion of the Panama Canal, which had been disrupted by outbreaks.

Visit to learn more about Carlos Juan Finlay, MD.

Photo of Dr. José Celso Barbosa

José Celso Barbosa, MD

Dr. Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican to receive a medical degree in the United States. He articulated a need for employer-based healthcare insurance, a radical idea at the time.

Visit to learn more about José Celso Barbosa, MD.

Photo of Dr. Severo Ochoa

Severo Ochoa, MD

Dr. Ochoa discovered an enzyme that can synthesize ribonucleic acid (RNA), a key step in understanding the human genetic code. He became the first Hispanic American to win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

Visit to learn more about Severo Ochoa, MD.

As we observe Hispanic Heritage Month, we are reminded of the incredible contributions these individuals have made, not just to the Hispanic community, but to humanity as a whole.

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month in San Diego, CA

Photo of Building in Old Town San Diego State Historic Park

San Diego offers a variety of fun & engaging events and cultural experiences to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Here are just a few ways you can participate:

  • Old Town San Diego's Fiestas Patrias Taking place this Saturday, Sept. 16, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Learn more.
  • San Diego Public Library's “Nuestra Cultura”: A series of free Hispanic Heritage Month events at branches across San Diego. Learn more.
  • The Padres' Hispanic Heritage Weekend: At Petco Park from Friday, Sept. 22, to Sunday, Sept. 24. Learn more.
  • Latino Lawn Program: Hosted by the House of Spain at the International Cottages on Saturday, Sept. 23, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Learn more.
  • Visit Barrio Logan and Chicano Park: A hub of Mexican-American culture and arts. Learn more.

Looking For Another Way to Celebrate and Support the Hispanic Community?
Consider Donating Blood

At San Diego Blood Bank, we understand the critical need for a diverse donor pool. Diseases like Sickle Cell disproportionately affect African-American and Hispanic communities, making ethnic inclusion in healthcare not just important but imperative. We invite everyone, especially those from Hispanic and other diverse backgrounds, to join us in this lifesaving mission. Your blood donation can make a significant impact, potentially saving up to three lives with just one donation.

Explore our site for more information on donating blood or schedule as appointment to donate if you're ready!

Why Choose San Diego Blood Bank?
Our Commitment to Inclusion, Innovation, and Equity in Healthcare

When you donate with San Diego Blood Bank, you're part of a community that values inclusivity and innovation. Through our Precision Blood™ inititiave and our partnership with the All of Us Research Program, we hope to improve health outcomes for all and help address preventable blood-related health disparities by gathering critical health data from diverse communities. This paves the way for medical advancements, ensuring equitable access to compatible blood and biotherapies for everyone.