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Highlighting the Heroes: Marine and Rutgers Grad Nominated for $25K Award

Our H.E.R.O. Award -Honoring Excellent Resident Observations – was launched to highlight the personal sacrifices and educational commitment during a medical resident’s professional adult life.  We realize, considering the fast moving changes in healthcare,  how courageous medical residents are to embark upon a career in medicine with such an uncertain future.  This award is our way of recognizing that courage.

We wanted to take a moment to introduce you to our nominees individually:

Medical Resident Award

Octaviano (OJ) Espinosa

Naval Medical Center San Diego – San Diego, CA
Dr. OJ Espinosa graduated from medical school in 2008 at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School at the age of 38. Beside having to keep up with his much younger classmates, OJ’s first child was born one week before his first day of school. OJ describes his son Bridger as a wonderful, but very colicky baby! OJ distinctly remembers that Bridger did not sleep through the night until Halloween of his first year. Those first several examinations in medical school were difficult, but OJ persevered. Dr. Espinosa started his residency career as an intern in General Surgery. He quickly realized he was not in the right place. His heart and bedside manner belonged with obstetrics and gynecology. In fact, in looking back, the first surgery he remembers watching was a cesarean section performed by his father, a general physician, in Nicaragua. OJ was only 6 years old. It seems he was truly destined to be an Ob/Gyn. Prior to entering the medical field, Dr. Espinosa was an infantry officer in the Marine Corps. He had aspirations for medicine as a child, but initially opted to pursue a military career. At one point, his father became ill and needed cardiac surgery. While home, the surgeon who took care of his father asked if OJ was interested in observing in the operating room. This experience motivated OJ to change the path of his life. He realized what amazing work could be done as a physician and surgeon. He began making plans to pursue his own medical career thanks to the man who saved his father’s life. Dr. Espinosa was selected for Major (O-4) in the Marine Corps when he decided to pursue his dream and apply to medical school. He had a very promising career in the Marine Corps. Ultimately, he was honorably discharged and went back to school for post baccalaureate studies and earned a Masters Degree in Biomedical Sciences. He was then awarded the Health Professions Scholarship and was REDUCED to the rank of Ensign (O-1) in order to start his career in the Navy. He went on to attend medical school at Rutgers. By then, he had started a family of his own and sacrificed a great deal of time with them to pursue his degree and complete his residency training. Vote for Octaviano here. If you know a resident that deserves to be recognized, please nominate your candidate here.