Gabriela Ruiz, MD, is a physician resident with Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. Dr. Ruiz joined the ministry in 2022 as a part of the pediatric residency and is now in her second year of training.
“I always loved science in general, but medicine drew me in because I enjoy the puzzle patients bring in that leads to diagnosing and attempting to find solutions,” she says. “I also enjoy the continuity in primary care and getting to know your patients and seeing them grow. Another part of it was always having the desire to contribute to my community since I was young, and it remains my goal for the future.”
Dr. Ruiz’s professional goal is to continue to pursue a career in primary care in Baton Rouge or somewhere nearby once her training is completed.
Keeping the Nicaraguan Culture Alive
Dr. Ruiz is a first-generation Latin American from New Orleans with strong and proud Nicaraguan roots. Her family has resided in the U.S. for 30 years.
Dr. Ruiz and her family celebrate by keeping their culture alive through their language and by enjoying its diversity in music and food.
“In spite of living in the States for 30 years, we still only speak Spanish at home, and to this day my mother does not cook a dish that’s not from our country,” Dr. Ruiz says.
One of her favorite cultural dishes are Nacatamales and arroz a la Valenciana. Nacatamales are Nicaraguan versions of tamales that take a long time to make and consist of dough, shortening, seasonings, rice and pork all steamed in banana leaves.
“They’re also so big that they will put you in a food coma if you try to eat one on your own,” she says. “They remind me of Sunday brunches with my parents when I was small child. It’s usually a Sunday-only breakfast in our family.”
Another favorite dish is arroz a la Valenciana, a rice dish with chicken, pork, peppers, carrots, onions and seasonings.
“I love the flavor of it, and it always reminds me of my childhood birthdays and holidays when my mom would make it as a celebratory dish. I still ask her to make it on occasion,” Dr. Ruiz says.
Our DEI Commitment
Our ministry’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion supports culturally competent care education for our team members all year long, especially during Hispanic Heritage Month each September.