For the best part of twenty years, Dr. Jose Rios has served his community with compassion and dedication to an underserved and overlooked population. Many doctors enter this field and revel in the grandeur of the spotlight. Others boast their intellect and academic prowess. But for this humble doctor, his badge of honor comes from the happiness of a child brought from sickness to health and the smile of a relieved parent.
Dr. Jose Rios is a native of Colombia. He was raised in a poor part of the country. His father was a teacher, and his mother stayed at home as she raised a household of seven thriving children. Raising to a higher standard of living among this population was rare as advantages and opportunities were hard to come by. Jose had the benefit of very nurturing parents who instilled loving family values of being respectful, grateful and living from the heart. He embraced the values of family. His devotion to his spirituality and those values remain prevalent within his core beliefs throughout his life. He strives to be an excellent example to his own family and within the community where he has dedicated his life and his services.
It is no surprise that Dr. Jose Rios spent his life’s work to build a strong foundation to support the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta for years to come. He led the clinic from a staff of four to a team of 30. He brought the offices from paper files to digital charts and updated technology. He left his mark on an organization that will continue to flourish for years to come.
Dr. Jose Rios remains grateful for the opportunities that were presented to him in his younger years. He worked very hard to overcome obstacles and boundaries that were set before him. Those boundaries may have defeated men of lesser character. This doctor exudes dignity and strength of character.
Why did you choose to become a doctor?
Initially, when I decided to become a doctor, I was going to become a neurologist because I saw my mother in so much pain all of the time from her terrible migraine headaches. After I started my training, I found that I really preferred working with children. The difference in treating someone older is that we are usually treating them for many chronic problems some of them lifelong incurable problems. When you treat a child, they may come in miserable, but most of the time their condition can be greatly improved. They leave happy, smiling and cured more often than not. It gives me joy to see happy children.
What area do you specialize in?
I am a general pediatrician, but I worked as a general practitioner for 3 years back in Colombia. I also worked for many years in the emergency room and inpatient care at Scottish Rite Hospital in Atlanta, in addition to spending time doing volunteer work.
What is your daily routine?
The clinic opened at 8:30, but I would get there early to make sure that the equipment and everything else is set up and ready for the day. As a pediatrician, each day is very diverse. We start to see patients as early as possible. After the first patient, it is non-stop work. The clinic is open eight hours a day and there never seems to be enough time- it just flies by.
What do you love about your job?
The thing that I love the most in my work is seeing healthy kids. We do a lot of preventative healthcare, which- contrary to popular belief- does not always mean getting a shot. Most children will come in healthy and happy and playing, but if they come in sick, I can help them on their recovery.
What would you consider to be the greatest accomplishment in your career?
When the clinic was first opened, we began with one nurse, one front desk person, and myself. By the time I left the clinic, there were five providers and around thirty staff members. It was a huge practice. I believe it was the best Hispanic practice in Atlanta. I take a lot of pride in helping building the clinic up to provide such an excellent service within the community.
Tell our readers about some of your volunteer activities.
I work with the St. Vincent de Paul Society. They have locations that provide healthcare to patients who have little to no insurance. I offer my pediatric services as a volunteer. I get great satisfaction in providing that service and helping the people in our community.
What do you do in order to mentally separate yourself from your job?
Sometimes it is challenging to separate yourself from your job. But I think that you have to feed your mind, body and spirit. They are all part of being a human being. Exercising is a very important part of separating yourself. Reading the Bible and taking care that your faith as the center of your life is very important. The other passion and hobby that I enjoy is soccer! I play every weekend. Soccer helps me stay fit. I enjoy watching games whenever I have the opportunity.
Is there anything that you would like to share, being a pediatrician?
I think that people are very attentive to their children. Sometimes too much; they stress about everything that they do- if they cry, if they have a rash, if they burp too much. There is so much stress that is created when you become a parent. Parents spend a lot of time worrying about every little thing that they think could possibly go wrong. Every time a kid coughs it is not necessarily pneumonia. Be watchful but try to stress less and focus on the joy it is to be a parent.
Take the time to enjoy your baby. Take the time to enjoy your child. Be a kid again! Laugh, swim, play! Enjoy becoming a child along with your own child. Let the kid inside of you come out to play! Kids grow up so fast so any time is precious. Be a kid with your kid.