I am a pediatrician, a mom, and an activist.
I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago with memories of metal roller skates that clamp onto your sneakers and midwestern weather (snow storms and tornadoes!). We weren't a family of means, but from a young age, my parents instilled in us the drive to give back to our communities.
My mom started college funds for me and my three siblings in the belief that our future held higher education. She herself returned to college and earned a degree at 45.
When I was a teenager, my older brother Pat, was diagnosed with schizophrenia. To this day, more than 30 years later, there’s a little moment of panic when my family calls each other. We worry there is another emergency with Pat.
My brother’s mental illness and my mom’s example of service and education led me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor. And in treating children, I found my calling.
When I was a medical student, a group of us started a clinic at a homeless shelter in Los Angeles. A patient, Ms. Gonzales, came to me in the clinic and through an interpreter said, “Lisa, I can’t read my bible.” After that conversation, I persuaded the folks at my school’s eye clinic to provide exams and eyeglasses to all shelter residents.
That was a good day.
It was also the day I decided to learn Spanish, which I speak with many of my patients to this day.
Now, as a pediatrician at The Children’s Clinic in southwest Portland, I help families shepherd their babies into children and children into young adults. In the exam room, I see what is and what isn’t working for Oregon families, and this influences everything I do in the legislature.
My healthcare background informs decisions on policies and services that encompass 30% of Oregon’s budget, and I bring my expertise in early childhood so that we can make Oregon the best place for children to grow up.
I know this past year has been incredibly challenging for all of us, but please know that my office is here as a resource and as an advocate for you in Salem. Don’t hesitate to reach out, you can find my office’s contact information just above, at the top of this page.