Dr. Q, the farmer who became one of the best neurosurgeons in the world

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This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

This story originally appeared on México Desconocido

Alfredo Quiñones Hinojosa, popularly called Dr. Q, is a Mexican neurosurgeon, whose story is capable of moving anyone. He was born in the city of Mexicali, Baja California , in 1968.

At the age of 19, Alfredo could not speak English, so he had to work on a farm in Fresno, California. According to his various testimonies, in Mexico he had a very poor life, which gave him enough courage to want to overcome himself and jump the 30-foot wall that separates Mexico and the United States.

“I left Mexico out of necessity. I realized how the system treated my parents. In our countries it is a little more difficult to get ahead if you don’t have financial support, if you don’t know anyone, ”Quiñones recalls calmly.

Image: Brain and Life Magazine via Unknown Mexico

Although he made little money, Alfredo Quiñones saved to pay for English classes at a community school. Initially, he only spent time in the United States to pay for his education in a Normal School in Mexico. After graduating, he knew he had to take the next step: study medicine, inspired by his grandmother, who was a healer.

“I would eat people’s leftovers, go to restaurants and pick up what people left behind. I was thirsty to get ahead, even though I became homeless, “he continues.

By 1991, Quiñones began his education at San Joaquin Delta College in Stockton, California, and completed his BA in Psychology with honors at the University of California. Later, he studied Medicine at Harvard University, from which he also graduated with honors.

Image: Via Mexico Unknown

Dr. Q., a model migrant

“They told me that our people are not accepted at Harvard or Stanford, many times I doubted if I could achieve my dream,” he says in an interview for Channel 22.

During his period as a student, he also managed to obtain American citizenship. Finally, he completed his professional training with a residency at the University of California, San Francisco, where he collaborated with the Mexican physician Arturo Álvarez-Buylla in a research on stem cells.

“I was made in Mexico, but the United States gave me the opportunity. However, I keep coming back to Mexico to do altruistic work and to build bridges between our countries, ”he says with joy.

Image: Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa / Tom via Unknown Mexico

Dr. Q began his career at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine where he taught Neurosurgery and Oncology, Neurology, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine. In addition, he worked as director of the Stem Cell Biology Laboratory for Brain Tumors.

His clinical research focuses on the surgical treatment of primary and metastatic brain tumors. He is also an expert in spinal intradural, brainstem, and brain tumors. He also specializes in the treatment of patients with pituitary tumors, as well as in the base of the skull and in the use of radiosurgery.

Since 2016, the now-known Dr. Q has worked at Mayo Clinic in Florida as a physician, however, he continues his work as an NIH-funded researcher to find a cure for brain cancer. Dr Q. has contributed to 50 book chapters and has written several texts on his research.

In 2021, actor Brad Pitt announced his intention to film the life of Dr. Q, through his production house Plan B that collaborates with Disney. The production company is the same one that filmed 12 Years of Slavery , an Oscar-winning film. Surely Brad Pitt’s film will highlight the lives of Mexican migrants and those around the world.

Awards and recognitions received by Dr. Alfredo Quiñones

  • 986 BA Escuela Normal Urbana Federal Fronteriza, Mexicali, México – Social Sciences and Humanities, multidisciplinary teaching license.
  • 1991 San Joaquin Delta Community College, Stockton, California – Transfer of core curriculum to University of California.
  • 1994 BA from the University of California, Berkeley, California – Top honors.
  • 1999 MD Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts – Cum Laude.
  • 2000 University of California, San Francisco, California (General Surgery) – Most Valuable Intern Award.
  • 2004 University of California, San Francisco, California (Residency – Neurosurgery) – Howard Naffziger Neurological Surgery Award.
  • 2006 Howard Hughes Institute – Medical-Scientific Career Award.
  • Association of American Medical Colleges – Herbert Nickens Award.
  • 2006 American Society for Clinical Oncology Foundation – Professional Development Award.
  • 2006 Johns Hopkins University – Passano Medical Scientist Award.
  • 2007 Johns Hopkins Hospital – Department of Neurosurgery – Faculty Teaching Award (Richard J. Otenasek).
  • Robert Wood Johnson Award 2007.
  • 2007 Popular Science Magazine – Award for the ten brightest scientists.
  • 2007 Baltimore Magazine – US Top Docs
  • 2008 Olender Foundation – America’s Role Model Award.
  • Science and Engineering Festival 2010 – Nifty Fifty Scientist.
  • 2011 Baltimore Magazine – Baltimore Top Docs.
  • 2012 Named as Super Doctor.
  • 2012 Winner of the Ohtli Award.
  • 2015 VII Ibero-American Cortes de Cádiz Award for Surgery, Spain.
  • Forbes 2015, the most creative Mexicans in the world.
  • 2018 Honorary doctorate from the University of Santander.

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