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Cedar Rapids Family Medicine Residency

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Chelsea Lima, MD

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University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

I'm an Iowa gal, born and raised in Waterloo. Like so many Iowans, I planned to live out my days as far from Iowa as possible; my high school Spanish would take me there for sure. Double-majoring in Biology and Chemistry at and playing rugby for the University of Northern Iowa was the first step in that master plan, taking me a whole 18 minutes from the house I grew up in. I got a taste of Medicine and living abroad during my time there, though, participating in 3 medical missions trips to the Dominican Republic and Haiti. That affirmed my calling to Latin America and, more importantly, to Medicine.

Medical school carried me even farther from home, down to the balmy south at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine. There, I earned Distinction in Global Health, completing the majority of my Global Health work at a couple of the healthcare facilities in the Dominican Republic at which I had served during my previous missions trips. Coming back after that summer abroad, I knew I was destined to spend my life in Latin America, away from the crutch of technology and insurance company interference in my practice. Of course, I was! Why else would my skin be so white, yet I was able to dance with the soul of a Latina?

It was at a local salsa dancing event I drew the attention of an international student who had just moved into our medical fraternity. Fellipe was in his last year of Medicine at a school in Brazil and had come to Iowa on an exchange. We fell in love over the months that followed, and that relationship has literally turned my world upside-down. Leave it to me to marry the guy from the ONE country in Latin America that DOESN'T speak Spanish, and, of course, a Third-World doctor who wants to practice in the First World!

The ties Fellipe has maintained with his alma mater and former Family Medicine practice still allow me to get my Global Health fix, though. Most recently, this was by facilitating our founding of a breastmilk bank in the rural town of Montanhas in northeastern Brazil. We became very passionate about the importance of breastfeeding and breastmilk during the infancy of our son, Dani, and are very fortunate to have the connections and resources to spread that message around the world.

I may never get move away from home like I always thought I would, but that doesn't mean my work isn't able to!


Cedar Rapids Medical Education Foundation (CRMEF)

1260 2nd Avenue SE • Cedar Rapids, IA 52403 • Phone: (319) 297-2300 • Fax: (319) 297-2280