Marysel Pagán Santana
What do you do?
I lead programs related to the climate crisis and disaster management in Puerto Rico. My job is to support primary healthcare institutions and communities to prepare and adapt to current climate challenges. I adapt scientific reports and projections to increase the understanding of the climate, disasters, and occupational challenges in vulnerable and hard to reach populations with the overarching goal of improving their health outcomes.
Why did you choose this field?
Given the economic and political situation of Puerto Rico, I've always felt the need to have an advocacy role for those in need, especially workers in rural areas. My role model was my mother who was a teacher in a primary rural school in Puerto Rico. She included me in all the activities regarding workers rights since I was young and at the same time she never failed to voice the need of the communities and support their empowerment.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
Being the "other kind of doctor". My role in public health is the perfect balance of being interested in science and health and the need to support the communities in Puerto Rico at a non-clinical level.
Why do you love working in STEM?
I love that I can sustain and promote change to advance communities' empowerment and health using my knowledge and sharing others knowledge.
Best advice for next generation?
There are always new challenges and venues to explore.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
"Nuestros enemigos no son tan grandes, lo que sucede es que nosotros estamos de rodillas." (which translates directly into "Our enemies are not that big, what happens is that we are on our knees.") - Ramón Emeterio Betances