Mirna Elena Flores

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Just as I had people on my way helping me to achieve this dream, there will always be someone to help you. You are not alone. Once you get to where you want to be, don’t forget to pass it on and help others achieve their dreams, too. ”

Mirna Elena Flores
College of Dental Medicine-Arizona, 2022

What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?

Honoring our roots and the impact they have made in the world.

Discuss your background a little and what made you decide to get into the healthcare profession.

I am the youngest child of seven brothers and one sister, born and raised in El Salvador, affectionately known as “El pulgarcito de America” (the “Tom Thumb of the Americas”) because it is the smallest country on the continent. Since I was seven years old, I grew up with the dream of becoming a dentist, so I believe I was born with the vocation of dentistry in my DNA. As a child, my favorite game was to play working on my doll’s teeth. From there, I studied dentistry in my country, where I graduated in 2002; a few years later I met my husband, who is originally from Chicago; we got married in 2007 and I moved to my new life in the US a year later, where I decided to stay in the field of dentistry. I worked as a dental assistant for 10 years in Phoenix with the determination to obtain my dental license in the United States.

Are you the first in your family to go into college/graduate school/medical school? If so, what challenges did you face?

I am the first one in my family to attend medical school in the United States. My parents were teachers in El Salvador, from whom I learned all the precious values of my life. The challenges I faced were to learn a new language, a new culture, leave my family in El Salvador, and for some years to work and study at the same time.

What was it like to get accepted into Midwestern and what does that mean to you (and to your family)?

It was a miracle, a gift from God to get accepted into Midwestern’s family, from which I will be proud to graduate. It represents the passport to accomplish my desires of practicing dentistry in the United States and to fulfill the purpose of my life.

After you graduate, what are your plans?

First, I am planning to work as an associate in a private practice, and down the road, I will open my own dental office. Also, as a member of the non-profit organization “DMDPR, Missionary Dentists from Puerto Rico” I will continue participating on missionary trips to provide free dental services to the underprivileged communities in the United States and Latin America.

Any advice you'd like to give to other students who come from a similar background?

My biggest advice is “never give up on your dreams.” Remember, it is not going to be easy but it is worth it, if you deeply love it. And, just as I had people on my way helping me to achieve this dream, there will always be someone to help you; you are not alone, and once you get where you want to be, don’t forget to pass it on and help others to achieve their dreams too.

Just as I had people on my way helping me to achieve this dream, there will always be someone to help you. You are not alone. Once you get to where you want to be, don’t forget to pass it on and help others achieve their dreams, too. ”

Mirna Elena Flores
College of Dental Medicine-Arizona, 2022