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Hector Colon-Rivera is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.
Hector Colon-Rivera is one of the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty honorees. Graphic: Maybeth Peralta/AL DÍA News.

2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty Honoree: Hector Colon-Rivera

Hector Colon-Rivera, Medical Director for APM & Physician at UPMC, will be honored during the 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty on Aug. 26.

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The third annual AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event serves to highlight and showcase some of the most diverse and impactful young professionals across the Philadelphia region. 

At this year's event, taking place Friday, Aug. 26, Hector Colon-Rivera will be one of the 40 honorees. 

Biography

In his role as Medical Director for APM, Hector Colon-Rivera guides the community organization’s behavioral and substance abuse counseling services.

As a physician at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC), Colon-Rivera, whose specialties include adolescent care and addiction psychiatry, is part of a community program to increase medical access to rural communities in Pennsylvania facing substance abuse.  

He is also currently the co-chair for the Spanish Language American Psychiatric Workgroup. One of the primary short-term goals is to launch lasaludmental.org late summer/early fall, possibly in conjunction with Hispanic Heritage Month.

As part of the lead-up to the AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event, AL DÍA asked each of the honorees a set of identical questions and collected their responses. 

Here are Hector Colon-Rivera's responses: 

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced in your professional career? 

I lost a patient early in my career. Unfortunately, neither medical school nor residency prepared us to deal with this experience. There is no grief counseling after the fact and sometimes no time to reflect on the depth of its impact. 

What are steps that can be taken to improve diversity, equity and inclusion in your industry? Why is it important to do so?

Changes need to happen at a system level and examine our broader society with an active collaboration among companies, nonprofits, and other stakeholders.

We got some momentum from the pandemic but need broader momentum for system-level change.

Companies need to share best practices on effective programs and pursue collaborative efforts.

What does being a leader mean to you? 

A leader for me is to create a balance between creating a strategy and supporting and guiding others to be their best. Like Roberto Clemente once said, "Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don't, then you are wasting your time on Earth."

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I want to complete my MBA and continue some studies in quality biodata analysis to understand better the health system needs to better serve Hispanic communities in Philadelphia. Never stop learning.

The 2022 AL DÍA 40 Under Forty event will take place Friday, Aug. 26 at The Vie at Cescaphe. To learn more or purchase your ticket, click here

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