Cuban immigrant doctor new head of health of Orange County

Raúl Pino
Raúl Pino, Cuban immigrant doctor new head of health of Orange County. Photo Orlando Sentinel

MIAMI, United States.- Cuban doctor Raúl Pino, who emigrated to the United States from Cuba in 1995 as a political refugee, is the new head of the Orange County health department in Florida, the newspaper reported. Orlando Sentinel.

Pino, 56, graduated from medicine in Cuba in 1987 and specialized in the Island as a plastic surgeon, years later, when the Island was going through the critical special period, he and his family emigrated and settled in Connecticut.

Upon his arrival in the United States, the Cuban worked in several occasional offices that were not related to his career, until he received an opportunity in public health.

He worked at Hartford Hospital as a patient care assistant, then went to Hispanic Health Concil, “where I really immersed myself in public health. I researched the association between sexually transmitted diseases and domestic violence, ”he said in an interview for Sentinel.

The Cuban was hired by the Connecticut Department of Public Health as an epidemiologist and then the city of Hartford appointed him director of health for about five years.

Pino was the Connecticut public health commissioner and now relieves Dr. Kevin Sherin from his position as interim director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County.

“I didn’t think of it as a step up or down. The way I saw it was that I didn’t have this experience in my career as a public official. I have worked for cities. I have worked at the state level. I have never worked in a county. That is what really made this job attractive to me, ”he said.

Twenty years ago, in Connecticut, Pino tried to practice medicine, but he lacked 11 points to pass the exam. “I wasn’t in Florida, where there are so many Cubans. No one was really there to teach me and guide me on what to do, ”he revealed in his statements.

Given this situation it was said that he had to study again and not stop taking the exams until he passed them, but “the exams at that time were 700 dollars and he did not have the money, so it was not feasible. So I decided to continue with my life. Not everyone needs to be doctors, ”he said.

For Pino, in Organge County one of the biggest challenges in public health issues is facing the opioid crisis, as well as an outbreak of hepatitis A throughout the state. Likewise, it must also cope with HIV, since the county is the second in the country with the highest incidence.

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