Dr Sylvia Villarreal, "Dr. V," is the eldest of eight children from a 10th generation Mexican-American family. She attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX majoring in Biology and Theology. She entered Stanford School of Medicine in 1972. "Medical school was the most shocking culture I had ever experienced. It was the first time away from my family, new customs and the new language of medicine. Through luck, I found that pediatrics was where I fit in my clinical role as a physician..." intimates Dr. V. She headed to the University of Colorado, Denver for her internship, residency and chief residency.
Dr. V remained at UCD a few years as junior faculy. In 1982, she was nominated for a Kellogg fellowship. In 1984, Dr. Villarreal applied and received the RWF Clinical Scholar's program at the University of California, San Francisco. While there, she published research using Hispanic Health and Nutrition Survey on sexual maturation of Hispanic children. She remained at UCSF and San Francisco General Hospital as pediatric inpatient director and SFGH Chief of Staff.
Dr Sylvia Villarreal co-authored two books on pediatric AIDS and drug exposure. In 1999, she needed to either continue in academics or try another approach in the delivery of health care to minority and poor children. She decided to move to Taos to join the Taos Clinic for Children and Youth, eventually becoming the CEO and owner of the clinic. She continues to have the usual hospital committee and community activities that an over-achieving physician has on a curriculum vitae.
"What I am happiest doing is providing care for chronically ill children while being their advocate on a local, state and national level." says Dr. Villarreal. Due to her role as CEO, she embarked on an MBA degree with the American College Physician Executives. Dr. V is at yet another crossroads: continuing clinical medicine or using the experience to give voice to child health policy.