Julieta Gabiola, MD ’82/RMC, grew up in a low-income family of 10 in the Philippines, where she was inspired to pursue science by a Peace Corps volunteer who taught chemistry. While medical school was unattainable at the time, she went into nursing with a dream of going to America and becoming a doctor. At only 19 years old, she did just that, working full time at Rush as a MICU nurse during her two years of premedical training.
“Those early nursing experiences were instrumental in giving me the confidence, compassion, interpersonal skills and clinical acumen I needed to succeed as a medical student, and now as a clinician and educator at Stanford University,” said Gabiola.
Her passion for patient advocacy and teaching continued to grow through each step of her educational journey. Now, as a clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, she’s married the two passions — and taken them abroad.
Gabiola is the founder of ABC’s for Global Health, a nonprofit organization based in California. She played a key role in launching the first mobile medical clinic in her hometown of Pampanga, Philippines, with a vision to promote community outreach programs with private-public partnership for sustainability. Gabiola’s overarching goal is to provide access and continuity of treatment with education, prevention and research to help improve outcomes of cardiovascular diseases which account for most deaths in the Philippines and globally.
To expand on these efforts, she plans to create more mobile clinics throughout the Philippines within the next couple of years to enhance access to care, especially in the impoverished regions. Gabiola hopes the mobile clinics will be the new cost-effective way to reach people for their medical care. Additionally, she continues to take high school, pre-med and medical students to the Philippines for month-long trips for global health and community immersion.
While her work may span the globe, Gabiola keeps Rush close as a fond part of her history.
“It’s nice to reflect on who and what contributed to my journey and trajectory,” said Gabiola. “Still today, Rush’s emphasis on clinical care, teaching, research and community engagement shows students how they can make a difference in people’s lives — anywhere in the world.”