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An Interview with Dr. Henry X. Nieves Díaz, MD, DABFM: A Journey from UAG to Addiction Medicine Fellowship
By: UAG School of Medicine
The UAG School of Medicine is proud to showcase the accomplishments of our distinguished alumni. Today, we spotlight Dr. Henry X. Nieves Díaz, MD, DABFM, a member of the UAG School of Medicine Class of 2015 and Manatí Medical Center Family Medicine Class of 2024. Dr. Nieves Díaz will soon begin a fellowship in Addiction Medicine at Universidad Central Del Caribe (UCC) this July. We recently caught up with him to discuss his journey, achievements, and the values that have guided his career.

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in Family Medicine?
"Family Medicine drew me in with its holistic approach to patient care and the opportunity to build long-term relationships with patients. The versatility of the specialty, encompassing a broad spectrum of conditions and ages, allowed me to become a well-rounded physician and truly be there for my community in various capacities."
Could you share any memorable experiences or challenges you faced during your time at UAG?
"One of the most memorable experiences was navigating the rigorous curriculum at UAG while being immersed in a culturally rich and diverse environment. The challenge of balancing intense studies with adapting to a new country was significant, but it also made me resilient and adaptable—qualities that are indispensable in medicine."

How did your education at UAG contribute to your preparedness for your career?
"UAG's comprehensive medical program provided a solid foundation in both clinical knowledge and practical skills. The exposure to diverse medical cases and the emphasis on clinical rotations equipped me with the expertise needed to excel in my residency and beyond. The faculty's dedication to fostering a deep understanding of medicine played a crucial role in my professional development."

Reflecting on your journey since graduating, what achievements or milestones are you most proud of?
"I am particularly proud of my role as a first responder during Hurricane Maria in my hometown of Dorado, Puerto Rico. Working during the COVID-19 pandemic also stands out as a defining moment, where I had the chance to collaborate with remarkable colleagues and provide critical care during an unprecedented time. Matching at Manatí Medical Center, Family Medicine program has been instrumental in shaping me into a competent and confident Family Medicine physician. The rigorous training, comprehensive curriculum, and hands-on clinical experience provided a robust foundation that was critical for my success. The program's focus on evidence-based practice, patient-centered care, and continuous learning prepared me thoroughly for the Board Exam of the American Board of Family Medicine, ensuring I was well-equipped to meet the highest standards of the profession. Presenting case reports at the Mayo Clinic, Florida, and FMX in Washington D.C were also significant milestones that highlighted my commitment to research and continuous learning."
Can you discuss any significant projects or initiatives you've been involved in recently?
"Currently, I am leading, alongside my research partner Dr. Gloriana Rivera, a pilot project aimed at preventing delirium in hospitalized patients using non-pharmacological interventions at Manatí Medical Center. This initiative is particularly close to my heart as it seeks to improve patient outcomes and enhance the quality of care in a meaningful way."

Are there specific values or lessons from your time at UAG that have been influential throughout your career?
"The values of empathy, cultural sensitivity, and a strong work ethic ingrained during my time at UAG have been instrumental in my career. These principles have guided me in delivering compassionate care and understanding the diverse backgrounds of my patients, which is essential in Family Medicine."
Could you provide insight into your current role and its responsibilities?
"In my current role, I am preparing for an Addiction Medicine fellowship while managing my duties as a Family Medicine physician. My responsibilities include patient care, conducting research, and implementing initiatives like the delirium prevention project. Balancing these roles requires a blend of clinical expertise, research acumen, and leadership skills."

Balancing various commitments can be challenging. How do you manage work, personal life, and other obligations?
"Effective time management and setting clear priorities are key. I make it a point to carve out time for family and self-care, ensuring that I remain balanced and rejuvenated. Support from colleagues, mentors, and loved ones also plays a crucial role in managing these commitments seamlessly."

Who was a standout educator for you at UAG, and why?
"Dr. Cuauhtémoc Lozano De La Rosa stands out as an exceptional educator. His vast knowledge in the medical field and biochemistry, coupled with his dedication to teaching, left a profound impact on me. Additionally, the IMSS 110 personnel and colleagues who became my mentors and friends provided invaluable support and guidance throughout my journey."

Lastly, what advice would you offer to current #UAGStudents?
"Stay curious and never stop learning. The journey through medical school is challenging but incredibly rewarding. Embrace every opportunity to grow, seek out mentors, and build strong relationships with your peers. Remember, your passion for medicine will be your greatest ally. Keep pushing forward, and always remain compassionate and empathetic towards your patients."

We are excited to follow Dr. Henry X. Nieves Díaz’s journey as he embarks on his fellowship in Addiction Medicine. His story is a testament to the excellence nurtured at UAG School of Medicine and its alumni's profound impact on their communities and beyond. Stay tuned for more inspiring stories and updates from our remarkable alumni community.
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