Marjorie Molina-Wilkins was only six years old when she first became interested in science.
“I stepped into a local morgue with my brother and that was when I first learned the meaning of life and death,” she said.
That experience had a profound impact on her and her brother who are now doctors.
Molina-Wilkins, originally from Ecuador, attended the University of Cuenca where she pursued a Doctor in Medicine and Surgery degree, and also received her training in Internal Medicine. She then applied for the residency program in Cardiology in Mexico City at the Instituto Nacional de CardiologAa – Ignacio ChA¡vez in 2001.
“I was selected as 1 of 6 women and 1 of 33 residents in cardiology that year,” she said.
In 2004, she continued her training in Echocardiography and became the Chief Resident.
In 2005, after she completed her training in Cardiology and Echocardiography, she received an invitation to come to the United States to participate in a research program in the Department of Cardiology at UT Health San Antonio.
Later, she requested a transfer to work with Dr. Ralph DeFronzo in the Diabetes Division.
“I was trying to understand the behavior of the heart function in diabetic patients while I was collaborating with Dr. Nicolas Musi lab and with Dr. Patricia Iozzo.
“A few years later, Dr. DeFronzo asked me about my plans. I answered that I was interested in getting into the Master of Science in Clinical Investigation program,” she said. “Thanks to his recommendation, I received a letter from the Medicine Department telling me I was selected to receive an award that included a full scholarship to cover for the continuation of my education.”
While in the M.S. in Clinical Investigation and Translational Science program, she worked on diabetes and cardiovascular disease research specifically looking at myocardial dysfunction and Type II diabetes.
“I was very excited and I am very thankful about the path that I decided to take and I will be always thankful as well, to Dr. Michael Lichtenstein for all his support.”
Currently, she works at Schnitzler Cardiovascular Consultants where she found another mentor in Dr. Robert Schnitzler and Maria Cristina Rodriguez, RN.
Molina-Wilkins collaborates in three different areas of the practice: as part of the international program at San Antonio Wellness Institute, working as Clinical Director; as his Research Coordinator Director in Dr. Schnitzler’ research entity Mercury Medical L.T.D. and she is also in charge of the supervision of his nuclear department for the main Cardiology Clinic.
“It is my responsibility to make sure all our patients’ needs are met and all our prevention goals are accomplished. I am trying to use my knowledge and experience to make the difference in every one of the areas I am working with,” she said. “Working under Dr. Robert Schnitzler has given me the opportunity to widen my knowledge and experience in the cardiology field.
Wilkins explained that the most challenging part of her work is having to multitask.
“I’m basically available 24/7 for our patients. I have to multitask in three different departments, while, at the same time I have to be sure that we fulfill our patient needs,” she said. “I have to add that I am a member of the Institutional Review Board at UT Health San Antonio, which has pushed me continuously to keep the best quality of work at the research department at our office.”
Wilkins explained that she has learned the importance of “good customer service” when working with patients.
“The most rewarding part of my work has been to feel the satisfaction of actually seeing how we can improve the overall health focusing on prevention and being participles of providing early effective treatment to our patients. At the same time, keeping with research by maintaining the excellence and high standards has made a difference. In other words, good results and good service matter…”
Outside of work, Marjorie Molina got married in 2011 with Allen Wilkins who is her best friend and support.
“My immediate family my parents (Luis Molina and Hilda Carrion) together for almost 50 years, two brothers and one sister, nephews and nieces, as well as my in-laws, Dr. Kaye Wilkins and Sidney Wilkins represent a very essential part of my life.
“I try to communicate constantly with my family even when they live in three different countries. Also, I try to be there for my friends who are all over the world. I love to hike, travel, enjoy nature, photography, and to discover every day the beauty of the simple things. Keeping balance in my life is important for me, as well as to never forget where I am coming from and where I want to go.”
When asked what advice she would give to current students, Wilkins said this.
“Do not give up if this is what you really want. Keep your goals on your mind even if you find many obstacles. To be part of somebody health success is very rewarding and whatever you do, try to make a difference. If you decide to do it, do it well and be ready to change lives.”