Dr. María Elena Inocente Díaz from Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia (UPCH) in Lima, Peru has ranked second in the Bicentennial Generation awards. A graduate of UPCH’s Stomotology program, her excellence in oral health has led to a scholarship to the attend the Johns Hopkins University Master of Public Health program in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
Oral health and dentistry have been a family tradition for Dr. Inocente Diaz, as both her mother and aunt have both dedicated their careers to public health dentistry. She hopes to do the same, after being introduced to the area of study in the UPCH Stomotology program’s “Social Dentistry” class which explored the dental realities in the urban-marginal areas of Lima. She went on the do her residency in the small rural town of San Miguel in Cajamarca, where she took part in the radio program “Odontologists on the Air” where she gave practical oral health advice and dispelled common dental myths.
Dr. Inocente Diaz hopes to work at improving the health system in Peru and strengthening access to quality oral healthcare upon completing her MPH program at Johns Hopkins University. She also hopes to be able to be a university professor, to collaborate in the training of public health professionals within Peru.