Source: American College of Cardiology

The need to help others in a country with scarce resources, my love for science and the image of my older brother Carlos as a medical student were my initial inspirations to be a doctor.

At the age of 9, I lost my father to vascular complications. I never really knew the cause of his death; he was a heavy smoker and died shortly after an aorto-femoral arterial bypass.

I remember my father would take me for walks and at times had to stop to rub his legs. I could see the discomfort in his face, but he would not say a word. In time, I would come to understand his symptoms were likely due to arterial insufficiency.

After his passing, my mother, a petite 4'1'' giant of a woman from the deep Andes of Peru, single-handedly raised my three older brothers to successful college careers.

To be born to such an inspiring woman has been my greatest fortune. She is undoubtedly my hero and greatest inspiration.

My mom and I emigrated to the U.S. after I finished high school because of political unrest in my native Peru. We arrived in Queens, NY, with little money but full of hopes and dreams. Our story is the story of millions of Americans who come to the U.S. to work hard and make their dreams a reality.


Currently, as program director of the Cardiovascular Fellowship Program at the University of Florida in Jacksonville, FL, I have had the privilege to teach and mentor remarkable young men and women who are honoring our profession.

As immediate past chair of the first Disparities in Care – a subsection of the ACC Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Section – working under the leadership of Vera Bittner, MD, FACC, and Pamela B. Morris, MD, FACC, subsequently, we fomented intense dialogue about disparities of all aspects of cardiovascular care that resonates throughout different sections of the ACC today.

As a member in the ACC Women in Cardiology Leadership Council, I work alongside amazingly talented women and continue to be inspired by their passion, energy and commitment.

I hope to be able to contribute to the growth of our mission, and to inspire other women to join our profession. Nothing gives me more pleasure than to see those who pursue our profession, find their dreams realized and fulfilled.

Dr. Velarde was recently promoted to professor this past July and is the first Latina at UF Jax in IM Department, and one of few women Latinx in the institution.

For the full article, visit the American College of Cardiology website.