“My Medical Journey,” Enlightens Students at Clovis Community College

Dr. Manriquez-Jones (4th from the right) poses for a photo with Clovis Community College students. (Photo contributed)
Dr. Manriquez-Jones. (Photo courtesy of Valley Children’s Hospital)

By Carole Grosch | Reporter

There was standing room only in room AC2-176 at Clovis Community College (CCC) on Wednesday, Feb. 22. Joined by students from the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) class at nearby Clovis North High School, CCC students gathered in anticipation to hear Dr. Erendira Manriquez-Jones recount her medical schooling experiences.

“We want to hear about someone’s experience that has really been there and learn more about what it’s like,” said one CCC student.

The audience wasn’t disappointed.

Dr. Manriquez-Jones’ talk, “My Medical Journey,” gave honest and thought provoking insights on how she became a respected pediatric hospitalist, a pediatrician that works primarily in hospitals. Dr. Manriquez-Jones has  practiced at Valley Children’s Hospital (VCH) for 12 years. Her son, Emanual Manriquez, a CCC student and a member of the Science Club, helped arrange the event.

After receiving her medical degree at  La Salle School of Medicine in Mexico City, Mexico, Dr. Manriquez-Jones came to the United States when she was 27 years old. She mastered English and did her internship and pediatric residency at Martin Luther King/Drew University Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Board certified in pediatrics, Dr. Manriquez-Jones is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Prior to post graduate training, she was involved with pediatric pulmonology and infectious disease and served as a clinical research associate in gastroenterology at University of California, San Francisco-Fresno. She also performed volunteer work at an HIV clinic at the comprehensive Health Center in San Diego.

“I like to keep my mind busy,” she says about practicing at VCH. “We work as a team. Everyone, from those at the very top, to everyone on down, work to take care of patients.”

Dr. Manriquez-Jones stressed the importance of discipline and the sacrifice of free time during medical training. She personalized this by relating hurt feelings when she was unable to attend a close friend’s wedding due to professional commitments.

“You will sleep very little,” she said.”You need to have empathy, be perseverant and have endurance. There is a lot of stress. Sixty percent of students drop out because of a lack of free time.”

Fortunately, the hourly requirements for residency and internships have changed. What used to be a 36-hour on duty period has been reduced to a 24-hour duty shift.

“You will work harder than the average student,” Dr. Manriquez-Jones said. “Academics will guide your personal development.

“Community college is a stepping stone for pre-med,” she added. “Academically and emotionally, it can prepare you to succeed.”

She recommended taking the appropriate classes in chemistry, science and biology, maintaining an excellent GPA and MCAT, and getting clinical and leadership experience.

“As a physician, you look for families’ trust. It’s an altruistic endeavor that uses science and technology to alleviate suffering and cure ills. We’re always learning. We don’t always know. Sometimes we can’t always help patients. It helps to have a good support system.”

After her talk, Dr. Manriquez-Jones graciously answered student questions on a one-to-one basis.

Always ready to give the community opportunities to learn, CCC has two upcoming events:

Continuing the Social Justice Series, Dr. Renee Tajima-Peña will give two  presentations about her film documentary, “No Más Bebés,” on Thursday, March 9 from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. in AC1, room 150.

“No Más Bebés” documents a class action lawsuit, Madrigal v. Quilligan, filed by Mexican-American women who were sterilized at a Los Angeles county hospital during the 1960s and 1970s. The film premiered at the 2015 Los Angeles Film Festival.

Dr. Tajima-Peña is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker for Best Feature Documentary. An American filmmaker, writer and producer, her work focuses on immigrant communities, race, gender and social justice. Her directing and producing credits include the documentaries, “My America… or Honk If You Love Buddha,” “Who Killed Vincent Chin?,” “No Más Bebés,”  “Calavera Highway,” “Skate Manzanar” and “Labor Women.”