Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month: Highlighting Our Team

Date: Sep 22, 2023

At Emory Healthcare, we know a diverse team with an inclusive culture drives equitable outcomes for our patients and families, our people and our community. This is at the core of our unparalleled learning experiences, patient care, and innovative discovery.

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration of Hispanic history, culture, contributions, and achievements that takes place September 15 – October 15. Several of our team members discussed the observance, its meaning for them, and their proudest moments helping patients and our community as Emory Healthcare employees.


Sandy Cepeda

Administrative Assistant, Radiology
Emory Johns Creek Hospital

Sandy Cepeda headshot

Everything about Hispanic Heritage Month is meaningful to me because that’s a huge part of who I am—Hispanic. A lot of people don’t know I’m Hispanic, but my entire family is from Argentina. While at Georgia State, I met my husband Rick, who is from Queretaro, Mexico, got married and lived in Queretaro for 7 years, where my two daughters were born. When we moved back to Atlanta, we made the decision to maintain our Hispanic heritage at home by celebrating certain Mexican holidays and speaking only Spanish so that the girls would be completely bilingual. We are a large and proud community, so I’m happy that it’s celebrated throughout the Atlanta area and that we can participate in community activities!

On a few occasions, I have been able to use my native language to assist patients at Emory Johns Creek Hospital.* Patients and their families are already nervous about being in a hospital setting, so, to be able to assist them in their native language gives them some peace of mind. To see the relief on those people’s faces was very rewarding.


Dulce Elizalde Garcia

Environmental Services Technician
Emory University Hospital

Dulce Elizalde Garcia headshot

I am so proud to be Hispanic. Our culture is one that is full of spontaneous and friendly people who treat each other like family. I love the food, the parties, and the overall culture. Hispanic Heritage Month is especially important to me because six Latin American countries, including my home country of Mexico, celebrate the anniversary of their independence during this month.

There are too many moments to narrow it down to just one. It is really special to get to know our patients and hear their stories, and especially rewarding when you can touch their hearts and bond with them. It also makes me appreciate what I have more than ever before. I feel happy every day when I come to work because I have my life and my health.


Maria del Pilar Osorio

Medical Interpreter, Emory Medical Interpretation and Translation Services
Emory University Hospital Midtown

Maria Del Pilar Osorio headshot

Celebrating our cultures, histories, achievements, values and traditions is important to those of us who have come to this country to love, work hard, and be productive while never forgetting our piece of land where we were born. We are all ambassadors and there is so much to learn from each of us. We are always ready to share with you our experiences and welcome you to our beautiful countries.

There are many special moments I have had at Emory Healthcare. It is so rewarding when I am able to be that bridge of understanding, care, love and compassion between the providers, the patient and their families. I love to travel, and when I have been in non-English or Spanish-speaking countries, I realize one more time how important my contribution is as an interpreter.*


Daisy Salazar

Human Resources
Emory Decatur Hospital

Daisy Salazar headshot

During this time, we remember the value and impact we have made throughout the years. When I see the growth of diversity in government, society, entertainment, and how it has impacted communities, that fills me with joy. Let’s not forget about the food! Latinos bring flavor in so many ways, not only in Puerto Rican or Mexican food, but you also have Ecuadorian, Peruvian, Venezuelan, and so many more. I encourage you to try something different and explore your taste buds because you won’t regret it!

The one thing that has stood out the most is having the ability to translate for Hispanic employees, to give them the clarity they need or assistance in the areas they may not fully understand.


Monica Rueda

Patient Care Tech, 2 East Medical-Surgical Intensive Care Unit
Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital

Monica Rueda selfie

I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia. I come from a family with 9 children. We grew up and lived together until each one of us got married or chose to travel to school. Not leaving the parental home when turning 18, or when going to college, is common within Hispanic families. It is also not uncommon to live with extended family, for short or long periods of time.

When I was around 5, an older aunt of my dad’s came to live with us for 10 years or so until she passed. She taught us so much about our ancestors, our history and about the value of family. We also learned to be patient and respectful with elders from her. This was not the first or last time my parents or we have opened our homes to extended family.

Memories of celebrations deeply rooted in our Hispanic heritage, like Christmas, are very special and bring warmth and joy to my heart. Hispanic Christmas traditions are rich in cultural significance and often revolve around family, faith and food. Families get together with friends on Christmas evening, enjoying typical dishes, music, and prayers to celebrate one of the most important events in our culture: the birth of Jesus.


Fili Lucena Suastegui

Lab Customer Service Rep
Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital


Hispanic Heritage Month is important because it recognizes the achievements and contributions of our presence in this country.

I have had many moments when I help people who do not know English* and they are suffering from pain and need calming reassurance. I am happy to be able to help them and calm their worries.


*Emory Healthcare provides language interpretation services for all patients and visitors. Learn more.

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