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January 27, 2020

Diversify GI: Mayra Sanchez

"The importance of persistence cannot be overstated."
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We’re celebrating diversity in our field with a new series spotlighting members of the AGA Diversity Committee and AGA FORWARD Program. 

Born and raised in Cuba, Mayra Sanchez, MD, came to this country as an adult, with little money in her pocket and no recognition of her previous medical training. Unfortunately, she explains, her story is not uncommon.

“I first got involved with the AGA Diversity Committee to ensure there is recognition of those who come to our field from nontraditional paths such as this.”

Her professional hero is Dr. Guadalupe Garcia-Tsao, a senior hepatologist at Yale.

“She is inspiring as an engaging teacher and as a role model for practicing cutting-edge medicine, but she also is my hero because she was able to rise to a leadership position despite the challenges of being a minority.”

An issue affecting underrepresented minorities at the top of her radar is the need for more mentorship.

While serving on the committee, she also wants to stimulate a deeper understanding among colleagues to the value people bring by virtue of their different backgrounds, both in the gastroenterology and hepatology fields, and in GI patients.

“The practice of gastroenterology allows me to understand mind-body interactions and to appreciate how each person’s life experiences and emotional wellbeing contributes to her or his digestive health.”


  • Let’s get personal
  • What are you most proud of in your career? “I am proud that I built a very large, very busy, state-of-the-art motility practice at Yale University. Despite the fact that we have one of the biggest motility practices on the East Coast, we also pride ourselves on our dedication to patient care and patient satisfaction.”
  • … In your personal life? “In my personal life, I am proud to have two beautiful children and a wonderful husband who serve as constant reminders of the importance of life outside of the workplace.”
  • What’s your favorite part of your job? “Making a difference in people’s lives, especially when others have not been able to.”
  • What do you know now that you wish someone told you when you started your career? “The importance of persistence cannot be overstated.”
  • If I weren’t in gastroenterology, I would be … “a writer.”
  • In my free time I like to … “travel with my family to experience new cultures.”


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