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My Generation

Dr. Q: Fulfilling the American Dream

From migrant farm worker to world-class brain surgeon

Young students idolize him and some people even call him a savior. He may not be a celebrity or super hero, but to the lives he touches he is a true source of hope and inspiration. Dr. Alfredo Quinones-Hinojosa is one of the world’s best brain surgeons, but more impressive than the countless lives he’s saved in the operating room is the story of how he got there.

“Dr. Q”, as he’s better known, was born and raised in rural Mexico. As a young boy he worked at his father’s gas station and then at 18 became a school teacher. Struggling to make enough money to support his family, he came to the United States and began working as a migrant farm worker and doing other odd jobs to pay his way through school. He excelled through college and ultimately graduated top of his class at Harvard Medical School. Now, the same hands that once picked tomatoes are manipulating the intricate inner workings of the body’s most complex organ: the brain.

While he is a true “rags to riches” story, Dr. Q would tell you that his wealth comes not from his paycheck, but from the joy he receives from saving lives. “I never made tons of money, but I’m rich in many other ways,” he says. “I love what I do. How can I put a price on coming out of the operating room and having multiple hugs? No amount of money can buy you that, so I live a very happy life.”

With all the joy he's found in his life, Dr, Q is now hoping to give back by inspiring others on their own journey. My Generation got a first-hand look at how this humble professor is doing what he loves and changing lives.

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