West Chicago ER doctor named to ‘40 Under 40’ List

The National Hispanic Medical Association and the National Hispanic Health Foundation awarded Dr. Jessica Muñoz from West Chicago the “40 Under 40” award on Saturday, April 13, for her work in advancing Hispanic health equity.

A first-generation Mexican-American emergency medicine physician, Muñoz was nominated by state Sen. Karina Villa.

Villa stated: “Latinas make up less than 2.4% of all doctors in the United States and even less in emergency medicine; this shortage adversely affects patients from Spanish-speaking and minority backgrounds. Our country needs physicians like Dr. Muñoz, who can advocate for underserved populations through policy initiatives and delivering high-quality health care services while simultaneously giving back directly to her local community through partnerships.”

Another nomination mentioned that Dr. Muñoz “maintains a steadfast dedication and passion for emergency medicine and health care equity. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a commitment to lifelong learning and advocacy for underserved communities. From her volunteer work in Spanish free clinics and HIV vaccine research in South Africa during medical school, to her leadership in community health initiatives to decrease gun violence and unionization efforts as a resident, she consistently endeavors to address health care disparities. Dr. Muñoz’s resilience, compassion, and commitment to serving vulnerable populations, particularly the Latino community, render her an exemplary candidate for recognition and a role model for aspiring health care professionals.”

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF) launched their inaugural “40 Under 40" campaign to recognize and celebrate young professionals who are making significant strides in advancing Hispanic health within the health care industry.

With a mission to bridge the gap of Hispanic physicians in health care, NHMA acknowledges the critical importance of diversity in health care provision. NHMA understands that representation matters, and it is committed to fostering an environment where Hispanic health care professionals can thrive.

“Our ‘40 Under 40’ campaign is a testament to NHMA and NHHF’s dedication to supporting the next generation of health care leaders,” said Dr. Elena Rios, President and CEO of NHMA. “By recognizing the exemplary contributions of young professionals, we aim to not only celebrate their achievements but also inspire others to pursue careers in medicine and champion health equity.”

The “40 Under 40" campaign spotlights individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary dedication, exemplary leadership, and profound contributions to advancing health equity. NHMA provides a robust network for physicians and offers resources to empower Hispanics to pursue careers in medicine. Through mentorship programs, educational initiatives, and advocacy efforts, NHMA and NHHF strive to create pathways for underrepresented communities to excel in health care professions.

Dr. Muñoz was recognized at the NHMA and NHHF’s annual summit in Washington, D.C. During the conference, she had the opportunity to network with peers, participate in professional development workshops, and share insights on addressing health care disparities.

NHMA and NHHF are thrilled to honor the outstanding achievements of these young professionals making a tangible difference in Hispanic health. Their innovative approaches and unwavering commitment serve as inspirations for us all.

For more information about NHMA’s “40 Under 40" campaign and details on the finalists, contact Felipe Rivadeneira at or (202) 628-5895, ext. 116.

About National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA):

Established in 1994 in Washington D.C., NHMA is the premier nonprofit membership association representing the interests of 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States. Its mission is to empower Hispanic physician leaders to improve the health of Hispanics in the United States.

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