Angela Diaz: 2015 HIPGiver

Angela Diaz Photo 200Dr. Angela Diaz, Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center Director Written by John Yap Dr. Angela Diaz, the Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center’s Director, knows that what goes around, comes around. As a former teenage patient of the center, she can appreciate their situations, their medical treatment, and the tremendous value of paying it forward. “There are so many ways to give and each should give according to their talents and means,” said Dr. Diaz. As the leader of the adolescent center, she provides the guidance and model for the multiple ways the center is investing in its community. “I grew up poor in the Dominican Republic,” she said, “and I had an accident as a child.” That experience early in her life taught her about the importance of healthcare. By the time she was a teenager in New York and needed more support, she had found the adolescent center. She is acutely knowledgeable about the importance of affordable health services for youth, high-quality and welcoming care “This is my way of giving back,” the physician added.
Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center is the largest freestanding outpatient center for adolescent care in the country. It provides comprehensive services – primary care, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, dental care, and optical care – for free to over 11,000 young people every year.
The center not only provides direct services, but also conducts innovative research and is a “renowned training destination for adolescent health specialists across the globe,” she said. Its Junior Board, comprised of rising professionals, young leaders, and emerging philanthropists, provides mentoring for many of the center’s patients.
“I love the young people we treat,” Dr. Diaz said. She knows uniquely that early attention to the health of adolescents truly means investing in the betterment of society. That is why the center is not only focused on providing high quality care, but it also wants to ensure that young people in need, especially those who are underserved or uninsured, feel comforted in their dealings with the center.
Imagine being a teenager who suddenly needs confidential medical care and, because of cultural stigma or fear of maltreatment by their family or community, feels helplessly isolated. Dr. Diaz wants her center to be there for those teenagers.
“I believe others can inspire giving in their own communities by acting as examples,” Dr. Diaz said. “I find this work so rewarding that it is not really a ‘give.’ I get back more than I give.”
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more – more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving.