Empowerment Series: Board-Certified Pediatrican, Founder and President of Ola Pediatrics in the Bronx, NY- Dr. Ana Olivero Shares her Expertise with AW
My daughter will be a young adult soon, in no way does this mean worries subside, just change. The concerns that parents bear today is enough to burden the lightest of hearts, impossible not to be overwhelmed with thoughts of the future. I sat down for a Zoom call with pediatrician, Dr. Olivero to discuss the state of our children and how we can help in the face of everything taking place in the world.
Doctor, Ana Olivero has over twenty-five years of experience in pediatrics. Her vast amount of knowledge was delivered in a kind, friendly and thoughtful manner. The medical professional was comforting when providing advice to the parents of AW.
She was born in Barahona, Dominican Republic and attended one of the top ranked universities of that country, Medical School at Universidad Autonoma de Santo Domingo. She has gained extensive experience in the field while working at various prestigious institutions. Among the impressive list is Paulist School of Medicine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Stony Brook University Hospital in Long Island, NY, and Pediatrics Emergency Department at North Central Bronx Hospital in New York City. These opportunities strengthened her resolve to help children living in low-income communities with their medical needs. Offering her resources to the most needed patients has become her life’s work.
Dr. Olivero joined the Division of Emergency Medicine at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in 2002, as an attending physician in the Pediatric Emergency Department. Since starting at Columbia, she held prestigious roles to add to her expertise. As the former chair of the Columbia Presbyterian Community Physicians Organization, she’s done a lot of good for the community. In addition, she presents in conferences, workshops, lectures, colleges, schools, and institutions tied to medical organizations in the surrounding areas of Northern Manhattan and the Bronx.
Her countless contributions demonstrate a commitment to staying connected to the those that need the services. Efforts do not stop there, in 2007 she offered her time and experience to the Disaster Response Task Force of New York Presbyterian Hospital when tropical storm Noel hit the Dominican Republic. Today, Dr. Olivero is the Founder and President of Ola Pediatrics in the Bronx, joined by a team of pediatricians who take pride in managing excellent care for young patients.
As parents, caretakers and community members, I’m hopeful that reading our interview can offer some comfort during this new normal we’re all living.
Ola Pediatrics is a community care program working with the economically disadvantaged in NYC, particularly with Latinos, African-American and Asian populations. Thank you for the work you are doing. Why did you choose this work and why is it important? A highly skilled physician by the name of Hugo Mendoza was a tremendous influence in my professional life. Having the opportunity to work with him had a huge impact on me. Watching him work gave me an understanding of what it meant to be a pediatrician. Seeing his appreciation for the craft, helped me learn the fragility of a child, as well as, the resilience they hold, as they battled cases of Meningitis, Tuberculosis, and Tetanus. Children have an incredible will to live, I’ve seen the fight up close in ill patients. Witnessing such a strong resolve further invigorates physicians’ efforts, while they work to give patients the best chance chance at a healthy life.
Unemployment rates are at the highest they’ve been in years due to the effects of the pandemic. Businesses in many sectors are suffering crippling losses. The U.S. Tourism and Hospitality industry has been disproportionately affected by the lockdown and restrictions put in place. A significant number of immigrants in communities serviced by Ola Pediatrics work in the industry. Many people have lost their livelihood, medical benefits, and homes which is affecting children, significantly. What is your biggest concern as a medical professional treating young patients in these communities? There are plenty of concerns in this area, as the security and stability of home are a vital part of development. In order to provide an environment for children to thrive, it’s necessary to nurture a strong financial, educational, nutritional and emotional foundation. The different challenges parents are facing have the potential to affect a child’s health directly and indirectly.
Can you share your thoughts on how parents can help facilitate the transition from online learning back to in-person learning when the time comes for kids to return to school? Ultimately, the challenges that have been encountered over the course of the pandemic can help children learn to overcome obstacles later in life. Having open conversations with your children encourages them to feel safe and share their feelings. It is good to explain to them that these moments are temporary and they can surpass the difficulties life presents. It’s important for children to understand they have the capacity to get passed the pain or bad moments that sometimes happen. There is a lesson in everything, if you can teach children to have a healthier perspective on how to manage what happens to them, it may make dealing with adversity a bit easier.
Mothers and caretakers have been greatly affected by the pandemic. AW is about encouraging women to live their best life. During this difficult time, women have taken their jobs into overdrive. Taking on the role of mom, wife, teacher, career professional, nurse and everything in between. The pressures of doing so much is generating insurmountable stress. Are you able to provide a few helpful tips for us to consider as we manage the new normal? Yes! Parents have been forced to play additional roles because the situation demands everyone to step up. Dividing the responsibilities of the home and family leaves everyone in a precarious state but we are stronger than we realize. Children look to parents to guide them, therefore, taking care of yourself is essential to maintaining balance at home. I congratulate mothers and fathers in the midst of this new normal. The time of pandemic is unnerving but it’s okay to feel afraid, frustrated or angry. Give yourself time to process, take one moment at a time because hard decisions will need to be made as you navigate the uncertainty.
I like to end AW interviews with a positive quote, mantra or advice that offers hope to readers. Would you like to share some words of inspiration during this time of anxiety? Firstly, I’d suggest women to listen to their inner voice, it’s often said, “A mother knows best.” Trust your instincts around your child, communicate with him or her to ensure they’re receiving what is needed from you, particularly during this confusing period. Observe and remind yourself and them – this is a moment in life not our entire lives been played out. We are steps from the next victory and it’s not what happens or doesn’t happen, it’s about who you will be during the battle. You get to decide the terms of your life.
AW is incredibly grateful to Dr. Olivero for offering her time to share insight that offers some reassurance and relief. Children are our most beloved adoration, they rely on our strength and courage to get them through the hard times. Our guidance and support is invaluable and necessary, in order for them to grow into the adults they are meant to be.
These are uncertain times, we should try to demonstrate hope to our youth. Despair can only bring sadness, negatively affecting the mental health of everyone involved. Starting a dialogue with children allows parents to stay involved and informed of the family’s well being. Take advantage of this period to work on mutual connection and compassion. We are all managing as best we can, it can be made easier if we stick together.
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