Sonora, CA – Adventist Health Sonora is pleased to announce that Liliana Gelvez, MD, will be joining the medical staff permanently after serving nearly one year on a temporary assignment as a pediatric hospitalist. Dr. Gelvez has been caring for newborn patients in the birth center at Adventist Health Sonora since April 2017 and will now also see pediatric patients of all ages at Adventist Health’s Foothill Pediatrics and Forest Road Pediatric Clinic.
After graduating from medical school in Bogota, Colombia, at the age of 23, Dr. Gelvez served a year and a half in social service caring for families at San Rafael Hospital in Leticia, Amazonas Colombia, a rural area on the Amazon River. The position required Dr. Gelvez to speak both Spanish and Portuguese as the hospital was located near the border with Brazil, but she says that most of her patients spoke native languages. Dr. Gelvez treated patients with tropical diseases and parasites. The closely knit families would often come to sleep in their ill child’s hospital room. It was on this rotation that Dr. Gelvez gained her interest in pediatrics. In Leticia, “pediatrics was isolated and nobody wanted it,” Dr. Gelvez explains. “But I loved it.”
Dr. Gelvez never intended to leave Colombia but her love of travel piqued her interest and she soon found a job as a cruise ship doctor. That is when she met her husband and moved to Florida where she studied for board examinations. She then completed first-year residency training in pediatrics in San Juan, Puerto Rico, and her second- and third-year residency at Mount Sinai School of Medicine at Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey.
Dr. Gelvez’s love of pediatrics has grown over the decades she has spent caring for children, including 14 years at Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia where her responsibilities included serving as a pediatric and neonatology hospitalist and assisting emergency physicians with resuscitation and critical care of the pediatric population.
“Kids are fun,” Dr. Gelvez exclaims. “Kids recover easily and it’s rewarding to see them get well so quickly.” She has also come to enjoy working with the people at Adventist Health Sonora. “They are different- easy going and willing to learn,” she explains.
Dr. Gelvez has three kids of her own. Her oldest will graduate college this year and is applying to veterinary school. Her middle child will graduate high school this year and her youngest is a freshman. In addition to her love of children, Dr. Gelvez also loves animals. She currently has two dogs and fish. While she had once planned on staying in Bogota, Dr. Gelvez feels right at home in Sonora where the green mountains remind her of Colombia.
For more information call Foothill Pediatrics at 532-5524 or Forest Road Pediatric Clinic at 536-5120.