1998 Inductee - Maria Antonia Gomez


1998 Inductee - Maria Antonia Gomez

HEALTH

Orphans, drug addicts, and alcoholics get our pity, but what about our compassion, understanding and love? Maria is a giver of those three mercies in her work with heroin addicts, the Women’s Recovery Programs and her adoption of two babies. “My own personal experience with alcoholic families and their dysfunctional behaviors has gifted me with the ability to have compassion and understanding of the obstacles and the barriers of discrimination that the addict and their families must overcome,” she believes.

Maria has worked in the medical profession since 1976, even while she was in the Army. In 1994 she was honorably discharged from the Army with the rank of Major, one of the highest ranks achieved by a Mexican-American woman.

She has provided care for people with sexually transmitted diseases. She has educated patients about STD’s, birth control, Aids, prenatal, postpartum and family planning. Much of her work has been done in “women’s medicine,” such as pap smears, and OB-GYN. Maria has performed her medical duties in Bakersfield, Texas, the Presidio of San Francisco, Dameron Hospital, the San Joaquin Local Health District, San Joaquin General Hospital and in Tracy, Lodi, Linden and South Stockton. “I wanted to do more women’s health and was OB-GYN certified at Education Program Associates in Campbell, California in 1990,” Maria said of a major change in her life.

“I began to be more active in community programs. In 1994 I was transferred, initially against my wishes, to the Office of Substance Abuse to work with Heroin Addiction-Methadone treatment at French Camp, then in September, 1996 to the Women’s Recovery Programs where my blessing is to have learned to love the client and hate the disease of addiction.”

“Currently I work for four programs that treat chemical dependency with medication and counseling. I’m seeing pregnant women deliver drug free infants. My job has a lot to do with counseling and modeling about being drug free to woman ages 17-65.” Maria is concerned that Latinos are the largest racial group she has encountered in her drug programs.

Her achievements earned her a Susan B. Anthony award from the Commission on the Status of Women in the field of health care in 1995. Her numerous commendations, military and civilian promotions, and even this induction, are nothing compared to the joy her two adopted baby girls have given her. “In May of 1995 I was called by the San Joaquin Adoption Agency, and presented with a chubby, big-eyed baby girl, seven months old and was asked if I was interested. It was love at first sight.”

On Valentine’s Day, 1998 she adopted her second child. “Being a “mommy”, though tiresome, is a delight because I see two little smiling faces daily who need me and are dependent on their mama to give them courage and strength.”