Dr. Gene Dorio | The American Experience 

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

I would like to follow up on Gary Horton’s recent column, “A Deeper Dive Into Immigration” (Feb. 7), describing the many successful immigrants from the Santa Clarita Valley who have, through hard work, established their families and contributed to our American experience.

Two decades ago at a local hospital, I was asked by a doctor to call a medical student who was floundering in his first year. Many young aspiring physicians, especially of color, face confidence problems early, and several of my colleagues and I chose to be mentors for struggling students around the country.

A phone number was provided with a first name, John, so I called him after I completed office hours. Indeed, he was overwhelmed emotionally and academically by the challenges he faced at his prestigious Midwest medical school.

John’s goal was to be a surgeon. Not an easy task. Ironically, he grew up along the “126” corridor from Santa Clarita to Ventura, which we are all familiar with. His parents were farmworkers and, as first-generation immigrants, devoted their lives to their children. We had a long discussion not about what he had to endure as a student, but about his parents’ efforts and sacrifices to provide the basis for his medical school admission. In the end, he said he would not give up. This discussion took place 20 years ago, and now, a middle-aged second-generation member of that farmworker family is a doctor saving the lives of other Americans.

Many first-generation parents gave up their homeland, relatives and sometimes their culture to make a better life for their children. These are the sacrifices so many have made, which have made us a better country. We thrive because others have survived, to be a part of that American dream.

Dr. Gene Dorio


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