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From Border Town to Healthcare Frontiers (Bohemian)


By Chelsea Kurnick, September 29, 2020, The Bohemian.

Doctor Toni Ramirez, MD puts justice at the center of her practice in her office and community

Dr. Toni Ramirez entered medical school as an act of rebellion. That, and she wanted to help people. In high school in El Paso, Texas, her guidance counselor mocked her ambition to become a doctor, despite the fact that she was at the top of her class. A Latinx child in a border town, Ramirez thought, “If you’re telling me I can’t do this, what are you telling my peers who aren’t at the top of the class?”

At 18, she was accepted into an eight-year program at Brown University which included an undergraduate degree followed by medical school, permitting that she met certain requirements (which, of course, she did).

Despite the powerful work she does, Ramirez quickly learned that there were limits to how much she could help people as a physician. She sought to create space for activism beyond her day job. When Trump was elected president in 2016, she and about 40 other providers around Santa Rosa came together to form Health Professionals for Equality and Community Empowerment (H-PEACE).

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