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Hispanic Heritage Month: Hear from Linda Cendales, MD

Sep 15, 2023, 16:59 PM by Anna Shults

September is Hispanic Heritage Month! We're taking this opportunity to lift up the voices of our members and highlight their contributions to the field. 

cendales 1Linda Cendales, MD
Duke University

Education and Training
I finished high school in Bogota, Colombia, where I won a merit-based scholarship to study college abroad. I accepted it at Waterford Kamhlaba, United World College of Southern Africa in Mbabane, Eswatini (a.k.a. Swaziland). I became the first student from Colombia at Waterford Kamhlaba, in a class of 370 students from 72 countries. Subsequently, I received my M.D. from Universidad Metropolitana and completed a General Surgery Residency at the Hospital General Manuel Gea Gonzalez in Mexico City. I completed a Hand and Microsurgery Fellowship at the Christine M. Kleinert Institute in Louisville, KY, and a solid-organ Transplantation Fellowship and Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Additionally, I completed a Certificate Program in Translational Research at Emory University.

Why did you decide to pursue transplant?
I pursued transplant for several reasons. One, is the opportunity to make a difference incendales 2 (1) patient’s lives and their families. This is incredibly rewarding to me. Another reason is that transplantation is a complex and intellectually stimulating work. Transplantation provides a wealth of unique opportunities to create something new and to be at the forefront of cutting-edge research and clinical practice. A third reason is the sense of community. Working closely together as part of a team, creates a sense of friendship and collaboration and fosters a strong sense of community and shared purpose.

Outlook for transplant?
I see continued developments in transplantation in the next several years. Advancements in organ preservation, personalized immunosuppression, and bioengineered organs could become more common. I also see continued progress in xenotransplantation, regenerative medicine, and 3D printing for custom made organs, to reduce the need for allograft in some cases. I think that telemedicine and advancement in technology will escalate remote monitoring and will continue reducing in-person visits.  

The incorporation of artificial intelligence into transplantation and into health care in general will become more prominent. Progress in natural language processing, predictive analytics, matching optimization, computer vision, and approaches to personalized experiences and conditions will continue to increase and play an important role.  

What is a key takeaway for you during Hispanic Heritage Month?
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for celebration and for reflection. A time for celebration of the rich academic, scientific, cultural, social, and historical contributions of Hispanic communities. Significant contributions in healthcare, music, art, literature, sports, cuisine, and business to list a few. The Hispanic community encloses people from various countries and backgrounds. The sense of family and community is central to the culture and Spanish is one of the most widely spoken language in the world.  

It is also a time for reflection of the multifaceted challenges, and a recognition of the significant positive impact and influence that the Hispanic communities have made and continue making globally.