Faces Of: Carmen Lopez-Arvizu

tags: Center for Developmental Behavioral Health Inspiring Stories

Carmen Lopez-Arvizu

Carmen Lopez-Arvizu
Medical Director, Psychiatric Mental Health Program

Why did you pursue this field? 

It just happened. Both my parents were family medicine physicians. It was the language spoken at home, life revolved about patients’ needs and on-call schedules. 

Who are your heroes?

My mother. She became a female physician in Mexico, which still now, is a male-dominated society. She succeeded. She was one of four women that graduated in her class of 16 in 1963. Of that group, she was the only one that got married AND practiced medicine for over 50 years. Against all odds, she was able to be a doctor, a mom and a wife. From her, I learned that it can be done.

How do you work to inspire others? 

By example, by being a committed role model and mentor. With compassion. With empathy. With selflessness. With inclusion.

What is your proudest accomplishment? 

I heard my daughter speak proudly about my work and saying she wants to do what I do. I felt my heart exploding with happiness.

What is a problem or challenge you would like to solve or improve? 

There is a lack of diversity in academic medicine, especially in leadership positions and in senior faculty positions. And the difficulty of being able to be a successful woman in medicine has encountered an additional problem in COVID times. We see how the caretaker role, being a teacher or a full-time caretaker for children or aging parents, has driven a bigger wedge in our society. The assumption remains that women do not need money because they are not bread winners. If we do the same work as men, we should get rewarded the same—no matter our gender, race or relationship status.