Silvia I. Salazar
Where were you born?
Ahuachapán, El Salvador
What school did you attend?
University of California Los Angeles, George Washington University
What gained you interest in the NIH?
In my familia there are few people who speak English. This meant that those of us who spoke English and Spanish would end up being interpreters in all types of situations such as when our perrita named Pinky had to go to the veterinarian. So when my Mamá went to the doctor or when we would visit our tío or tía in the hospital, I would be asked to interpret. But it was difficult to understand how the healthcare system works because it is very different from the one in El Salvador. Seeing how people in my familia and comunidad had a hard time figuring out how to deal with diseases and how to get the right medical attention got me thinking about what I could do about it. Once I learned about the NIH, I realized that it was the right place for me because the NIH serves the needs of all people living in the United States and their research also takes place around the word.
What kind of work do you do at the NIH?
For the past 12 years I have worked at the National Cancer Institute in the area of technology and social science research. When someone wants to know how to prevent cancer or they have been diagnosed, they usually go online to look for information. Sometimes they want to know how to find a cancer specialist or what to do about side effects. Or they want to find information in Spanish and English so that their entire familia can understand and make hard decisions about treatment. My job is to make sure the information on the National Cancer Institute websites (cancer.gov and cancer.gov/espanol) and other educational materials provides the information people need.