Dr. Jennifer Pena and her husband Dr. Brenton R. Franklin spend effort and time rescuing canine of their residence of San Juan, Puerto Rico. As with all trigger that one could be keen about, there are some days which are more durable than others. Ultimately, understanding they’ll save an animal and both discover it a brand new residence or add a brand new member to their very own household makes the hassle worthwhile.
“We’re massive rescuers,” she shared. “Now we have a big stray inhabitants, and my Grandmama taught me to feed and handle the strays,”
She met Brenton within the navy, and their frequent bond of service in each navy and medication has saved them collectively since.
“He truly simply received out of the navy in July of this yr. He’s a common surgeon, and he’s the good one. We served collectively within the Medical Corps. The navy will all the time be part of who we’re individually and as a pair.”
Pena lives with Brenton in San Juan now, however Puerto Rico can be the place her origin story started. She, alongside along with her sister, was raised by her mom and maternal grandparents. She knew her father, however her dad and mom weren’t collectively. So, she spent extra time along with her mom, who was additionally working full-time as a nurse.
“My grandparents have been instrumental in our upbringing,” she stated. “I used to be a really lively little woman, very a lot a tom boy,” she recalled. “I used to be very a lot into sports activities and all the time taking part in exterior, getting soiled. Undoubtedly not the girly sort.”
Pena was additionally into martial arts, and he or she ultimately earned a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do. That keenness for exercise served as a pillar in her childhood, however as with every thing else in her life, she dedicated much more, ultimately changing into a member of the Puerto Rico nationwide crew. As a finweight competitor, she earned a number of native, state, and nationwide awards.
Pena shared about her time competing, “You already know the very best a part of that? It was enjoyable, it was by no means one thing I deliberate for, however developed a expertise for it.”
She excelled in schoolwork as nicely. Pena stated that when she was in highschool, she and her mom would research collectively as a result of she had gone to varsity to get her Masters diploma in Healthcare Administration. Her mom would grow to be a healthcare administrator following that point. As for Pena, she went on to Yale College and graduated in 2004 with levels in Molecular, Mobile and Developmental Biology, and Spanish Language and Literature. She would ultimately comply with within the footsteps of her father, uncles, and a number of other members of her household by becoming a member of the navy, particularly america Military. Her father was an officer and a pharmacist, which is yet one more medical discipline connection for her. Army service fulfilled two wants for Pena. In addition to her service to the nation, it served as a catapult for one more dream that connects her to her mom.
“It helped me with medical faculty,” she stated, nevertheless it’s not just like the idea of service was international to her.
“I grew up across the navy, I grew up going to the Commissary and being across the navy group,” she defined. “It was a simple resolution to make.”
Pena entered lively obligation in 2008 after graduating from the College of Pittsburgh College of Medication. That dedication to service and medical faculty would permit her to not solely assist these she served with, nevertheless it led her to breaking down limitations. After working in Fort Belvoir’s new hospital, she could be nominated and accepted to function a doctor within the White Home Medical Unit below each Presidents Obama and Trump. Unbeknownst to her at the moment, she was breaking limitations for Latina women in all places. Pena was the primary Latina to serve the White Home as a doctor. It wasn’t ever a aim she pursued, nor was it spoken about in an enormous method. She was knowledgeable of this by a colleague throughout a random dialog.
“It was a type of proper place, proper time issues,” she stated humbly. “It was certainly one of my doctor assistants, who was additionally Puerto Rican, who pointed it out. There’s a plaque with names on it, and he identified that there have been no different Latinas on that plaque.”
After over a decade of complete service, Pena left lively obligation in 2019. In addition to her work in rescuing, she additionally presently works as Co-Founder and Chief Medical Officer for Measured, a Y-Combinator well being startup firm offering weight administration options and dietary companies. Past that, she additionally works with Oya Care (the primary girls’s digital well being clinic in Brazil) as a Medical Advisor to the Board. She can be concerned with Julie Merchandise, Inc., a supplier of over-the-counter emergency contraception choices for girls in america. She has additionally made quite a few TV appearances as a medical skilled and spoke at quite a few occasions for digital well being, telehealth, Veteran issues, and even in efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alongside the way in which, she acquired quite a few honors, together with named certainly one of Enterprise Insider’s “30 Leaders Underneath 40 Altering Healthcare in 2021.” That very same yr, Pena was named Veteran of the Yr by Latina Fashion Journal, a tribute to her service and distinction. Within the eyes of many, she is each a hero and trailblazer. She hopes her instance of health, service, and dedication to others generally is a mild for younger people who wish to make the same influence on their communities, nation, and even the world.
“You must see one to be one. I believe that’s essential to me since you’re sheltered a bit in Puerto Rico, and also you don’t see that illustration at these ranges. Should you don’t see people who appear to be you, you may’t see your self in these positions. For me, it was Antonia Novello, who was Surgeon Basic. So, to the younger woman studying this, now you see it. You may be it.”
Comply with Pena @jennifer.m.pena on Instagram