Hispanic Heritage Month
This Hispanic Heritage Month we are featuring Jorge Novo, MD! Dr. Novo is an Assistant Professor of Pathology and Director of the Surgical Pathology rotation for the residency program.
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Guadalajara, Mexico, and I moved to United States when I was 16 years old. My parents were both bilingual teachers in public schools.
What is your favorite thing to do in your native country?
I love visiting cultural, and archaeological sites, and, of course, eat! The diversity in food, languages, culture, ecosystems, and sights are second to none.
What is your favorite food from your native country?
This is a very tough question. I can never go wrong with a Barbacoa taco, but a good pozole, carne en su jugo, tamales, and even the classic esquites are all gastronomical wonders. I can’t pick just one!
Can you describe any challenges you have experienced in your path to medicine?
I completed my medical school in Houston. Despite being a city with a rather large Hispanic population, the challenges as a Latino physician, were evident. I can recall at least three times where a patient told me that he/she did not want to be seen by a Mexican. Other times I was confused with janitorial staff, asking whether I was going to clean up a spill down the hallway. Even to this day people assume I am a nurse or a tech instead of a physician. Nevertheless, my journey has been fortunate to have mentors who have taken me under their wings, and most importantly, believed in me, helped me overcome my own impostor syndrome: something that those under presented in medicine tend to experience in higher incidence.
What is your role at Northwestern Pathology?
I am an assistant professor in breast and gynecological pathology, as well as the director of the surgical pathology rotation. I am involved in maybe too many committees! Residency interviewing, undergraduate medical education, hospital operations, wellness, you name it! My favorite part is always interacting with the residents, helping them grow, and, seeing them become outstanding, expert pathologists in front of my eyes. They are my pride and joy and I am very fortunate to be here for them.
In what capacity do you serve in pathology organizations?
I have standing membership with USCAP, CAP, and ASCP, and my latest work has been involved in the global health programs with ASCP, where I had the opportunity to participate with city cancer challenge, an organization that helps develop cancer treatment guidelines in resources-limited locations around the world, including Ghana, Georgia, Brazil, Singapore, and Mexico.
What can we do to increase the Latinx physician representation in medicine, and pathology itself?
Mentorship. I believe being that figure that supports and encourages someone who has doubts, someone who does not have the support network, is the first in the family to consider medicine, or the first to ever to go to college, or a suffering from impostor syndrome. I can see it in my own Latinx trainees, mentees, and students, and I am very honored and humbled of being that person for them that I did not have during my training years.