Dr. Espinoza says, at one point, he did consider leaving LSU, but decided to stay in New Orleans with his family. Looking back, he knows it was the right decision. “If, at the time, I had left LSU, I’m convinced the rheumatology training program would have been finished. It wouldn’t have been able to survive, that’s for sure, because I was the only one standing.”
So he continued his work training young rheumatologists, recruiting medical students and conducting basic and clinical rheumatology research.
Through his ordeal, Dr. Espinoza demonstrated his dedication to advancing rheumatology. Today, he has found another way to ensure the future of the field by becoming a strong supporter of the Rheumatology Research Foundation. He says he appreciates the Foundation’s work to provide patients with better access to rheumatologists and support research into better treatments through funding and education. “We need to attract younger, smart individuals that go into the rheumatology specialty. We need younger rheumatologists [who] one day will replace us,” he explains. “I decided to collaborate with the Foundation because they promote research. They promote education.”
Although he hopes he will never have to build a rheumatology section from the ground up again, Dr. Espinoza knows he is still helping to build a strong future for the specialty and provide for patients through his work with the Foundation.