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Gulfport respiratory therapist talks about Hispanic heritage

Published: Sep. 25, 2021 at 6:14 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - Almost two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Memorial Hospital has seen its fair share of hardships, but Geovanny Barboza has tried to always stay positive.

“I always liked to help people, always loved to make other people feel better,” Barboza said.

He is the Respiratory Therapist Coordinator for the Gulfport hospital, battling the delta variant among other diseases.

“We take care of patients with severe COPD, asthma, emphysema,” he said. “We stay really busy.”

He takes his work personally, after a childhood battling a respiratory condition, asthma.

“That’s why I became a respiratory therapist,” he said. “That was one of the ways to help myself and other people breath better.”

Barboza found an essential role in the coast’s health care system, working for more than a decade after graduating from MGCCC. However, his passion started early on almost 3,000 miles from Mississippi.

“I’m from San Jose, Costa Rica. I’ve been here for almost 16 years,” he said. “Memorial has been awesome. They have given me the tools to become a better healthcare worker.”

Barboza’s dream led him to a new life along the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and after years of success, he wants more people to succeed as he did.

“We need people to go out there and show them what we do,” he said.

He wants to serve as a role model for the next generation of Hispanic medical workers, a field that is seeing an increase in diversity.

“I think there’s more communication that we need in our community. We have a lot of Spanish-speaking people here,” he said.

And as Mississippi continues to battle the COVID-19 pandemic and other medical issues, Barboza said he will be one of several bilingual workers ready to help.

“We help translate. We help with whatever we can to make sure the people are taken care of,” he said.

The latest available Census data shows 2.2 million Hispanics work in healthcare across the U.S.

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