Interview with Dr. Jesus Gomez Santana

Dr. Jesus Gomez Santana gives his perspective of medicine in Mexico through the Project "Caras de México".

What is Mexico for you?
It's my country, where I was born and where I have lived most of my life. It’s the birthplace of my parents and all my ancestors. It’s a very endearing place.

What do you say when talking about Mexico?
I always try to talk about the benefits of Mexico and all that we have as a nation. I like talking about how entertaining we are, how we welcome all those who come from other countries and what good hosts we are.

How long did you live in Russia?
I lived for 5 years in Moscow, Russia, and returned to Mexico in 1983.

Compared to Russia, what are the best and worst things about Mexico?
The best of Mexico is the climate and the worst of Mexico's backwardness and corruption in all levels of government and in many areas of society.

How did you adapt to being in Russia?
I had no problem acclimatizing to Russian culture and I was enthusiastic to learn about their customs. For me it was all very striking. I never felt homesick because I was so engrossed in learning about other traditions.

I didn’t stay in Russia because I was there on an academic exchange from the University of Guadalajara.

What is the biggest challenge facing medicine in Mexico?
Reaching all sectors of the population and to developing scientific research.

What do you think is the biggest change we've seen in medicine in recent years?
In general, the discovery of the genomic map because from that data we can develop treatments and cures for many diseases that were previously very difficult to treat.

As a Mexican, what do you think we need to change/understand?
We need to understand that we must be united to achieve development in the country in general. We need to be working in the same direction when it comes to for the betterment of Mexico.

What is it that captures/reflects Mexican identity?
Mexican identity is what remains from the time before the Europeans arrived. After that, it was very difficult because we have been subjugated both by foreigners and Mexicans themselves who have been at the forefront of governments.

As a country, what do you think is the biggest challenge for Mexico?
Underdevelopment.  We exploit natural resources and don’t provide our youth proper educational or work opportunities.

What makes you proud to be Mexican?
Although there are many very bright people in Mexico who have made impressive contributions in literature and science, I am most proud about our glorious past.

Your favorite Mexican traditional dish:
Pepián with chicken, rice and fresh tortillas.

Interview with Dr. Jesus Gomez Santana for Caras de México. Click here to read more interviews examining Mexican identity.