About Us

Learn more about the Latinx VMA and its founders.
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About The Latinx VMA

The Latinx Veterinary Medical Association was founded in February 2020 by Yvette Huizar and Juan S. Orjuela. Growing up, they experienced a lack of Latinx representation in the veterinary profession. The absence of role models and support made their journey in veterinary medicine challenging, and at times, discouraging. They also observed how language and cultural barriers impacted client education and patient care. The Latinx VMA was created to form a community of Latinx excellence in veterinary medicine. Our community welcomes veterinarians, veterinary professionals, students, and clients. We are also proud to welcome allies that are invested in furthering our mission.

The Latinx VMA hopes to increase the visibility of current Latinx veterinary professionals and inspire more students to become veterinarians. We will also advocate on behalf of Latinx veterinary professionals and Latinx clients. The Latinx VMA wants you to embrace your heritage and help you promote the valuable contribution that you bring to your community. We hope to help you become a leader in our profession by amplifying your voice and providing you with a platform that supports you!

“We want the veterinary profession to reflect the diversity in our society."


To empower Latinx/Hispanic professionals in veterinary medicine and support the next generation of Latinx/Hispanic veterinarians.


To help create a veterinary community that is representative of our society in order to make veterinary care more accessible to the Latinx community.

Pillars of Empowerment

Our pillars of empowerment are the guiding principles for achieving our mission. They include professional development, mentorship, outreach, and scholarship.

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Professional Development

  • Offer unique continuing education opportunities
  • Connect our members with career opportunities, externships, and internships
  • Host Latinx VMA networking events, social nights, and conferences
  • Help create more Latinx leaders in our profession
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  • Increase visibility of Latinx veterinary professionals and leaders
  • Educate middle school and high school students in our communities
  • Help Latinx individuals pursue a career in veterinary medicine
  • Provide educational resources for our Latinx clients
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  • Sustain a network of veterinarians through our DVM Directory and mentorship program
  • Build a strong mentorship program to support & connect veterinary students and veterinarians
  • Encourage LVMA Student Chapter led  mentorship programs to support pre-veterinary students
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  • Provide meaningful scholarships for veterinary students, pre-veterinary students, and veterinarians
  • Offer stipend/grant opportunities to veterinary students
  • Create financial support options for disadvantaged students applying to veterinary school or taking the NAVLE licensing exam


Mitsie Vargas, DVM

Dr. Mitsie Vargas has realized her dream over a 30-year career, dedicating each day to her profound love for helping animals and their human companions. Born in the Bronx and raised in Puerto Rico within a challenging family context, cats became her cherished allies and confidants from a young age. This deep connection inspired her at just seven years old to aspire to become a veterinarian, setting her on a path fraught with obstacles but rich in determination. She completed her pre-veterinary studies at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, before achieving her doctorate at Tuskegee University.

Upon earning her degree in 1994, Dr. Vargas initially focused her practice on feline care in Miami. However, her professional interests soon expanded, leading her to work with a wide range of exotic animals. In 1996, she founded the AAHA-certified Orchid Springs Animal Hospital, where she has since been committed to delivering high-quality medical and surgical care for small and exotic animals.

Dr. Vargas’s journey into veterinary medicine took a pivotal turn when she embraced an integrative approach, particularly after conventional methods fell short in managing her German Shepherds’ pain. This led her to explore acupuncture at Chi University in 2009, a decision that profoundly influenced her career and philosophy toward animal care. Her success with acupuncture spurred further certifications in food therapy, herbal medicine, Tuina, medical manipulation, and canine rehabilitation, marking a significant transition to a holistic care paradigm.

Today, Dr. Vargas balances her time between her practice, where she continues to work three days a week, and her contributions to veterinary education as an assistant professor. Additionally, she dedicates her time to volunteering within her community and internationally with the Christian Veterinary Mission, embodying her commitment to service and the well-being of animals worldwide

Acacia M. Román, DVM
Immediate Past President (2023)

Dr. Acacia Román was born and raised in Puerto Rico. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Tuskegee University School of Veterinary Medicine in 1994 and owned a mixed animal practice in Puerto Rico from 1995-2008. In 2008, Dr. Román relocated to the state of Georgia and worked as a small animal practitioner for Banfield Pet Hospital in Duluth, Ga until 2012.

In 2012 she joined the Royal Canin USA Scientific Services Veterinarian team where she participated in delivering continuing education programs on nutritional management of diseases of the renal, dermatological, gastrointestinal, urological systems, and obesity.

In 2017 Dr. Román joined the Technical Services Veterinary team at Vetoquinol USA. She supports the company’s sales force and veterinarians in the field. Her professional interests are Internal Medicine, Dermatology, Nutrition, Rehabilitation, and Behavior. Dr. Román continues to practice as a locum veterinarian in the state of Georgia.

Carlos Campos, DVM


Dr. Campos was born in Guatemala City, Guatemala. He immigrated to the US with his family in the late ’80s as a teenager. He graduated from the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine in 2002. He has served the Pasco/Hernando residents since graduation. Dr. Campos was a practice owner for 14 years. He was named America’s Favorite Veterinarian in 2013 by the AVMF.

“Follow your dreams and do not hang on to the past.”

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Dr. Marina Tejada, DVM
Director of Outreach

Dr. Tejada is a Colombian-American veterinarian from New York City. Her parents immigrated from Colombia in the early 1970s. She graduated from the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine in 2010. She is a small animal and shelter medicine veterinarian at North Shore Animal League America, serving as a Supervising Veterinarian since 2014.

Her special interests include shelter medicine, surgery, emergency response, and mentoring pre-veterinary and veterinary students. She is currently on the Alumni Association Executive Board at the Cornell veterinary college, member of the President’s Council of Cornell Women, and a class representative of her high school alumni association.

Dr. Genesis Feliz Jones, DVM
Director of Public Relations

Dr. Genesis Feliz Jones graduated from veterinary school in May 2021 and is currently an associate veterinarian in Raleigh, NC.

Dr. Jones has always taken tremendous pride in the fact that she’s Puerto Rican and Dominican and that she’s able to speak both English and Spanish fluently. However, beginning her career in an area with a large Hispanic population who primarily spoke Spanish allowed her to truly understand the importance/need for Hispanics to have better representation in the field of Veterinary Medicine.

She loves seeing the joy on her Spanish-speaking clients’ faces when they realize the person responsible for treating their animals can speak to them in their language. Trying to understand and decide what’s best for your animal at the vet is already a stressful experience but that stress multiplies significantly when you add communication barriers. She takes her responsibilities as an educator, ambassador, and advocate for her Spanish-speaking clients seriously and is passionate about connecting with her fellow Latinx community on a deeper level.

Rafael Senos

Director of Student Affairs

Dr. Rafael Senos was born and raised in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His educational experience in the Biotechnology Technician program (Centro Federal de Educacao Tecnologica de Quimica de Nilopolis), his activities as a professional dog trainer, and his passion for animals and nature inspired him to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. While still in Brazil, Dr. Senos Senos earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Universidade Federal Fluminense and his Master’s and Doctorate of Science in the Anatomy of Domestic and Wild Animals from Universidade de Sao Paulo. His passion for teaching and education led him to obtain another Master’s degree in Education from Tufts University in the USA.

From the beginning of his career in Brazil, Dr. Senos dedicated himself to teaching veterinary medicine and helping his students succeed at Universidade Federal Fluminense, Faculdade de Castelo, and Universidade Estacio de Sa, and he specialized in small animal orthopedics and laboratory animal medicine. In 2016, he moved to the USA and worked as a researcher at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, and Johns Hopkins University. He taught at Tufts University before his current appointment as Senior Lecturer at Cornell University.

Growing up in the diverse city of Rio de Janeiro and in a country with robust inclusion policies in education instilled in him a profound respect for diversity. This respect deepened in the USA, where he noted the unique challenges faced by ethnic minorities in veterinary medicine. At Tufts University, he was honored as the supervisor of the LVMA branch.

In his free time, Dr. Senos enjoys physical exercise, spending time by the ocean, caring for his cacti, and traveling to explore new cultures.

Juan S. Orjuela
Co-Founder / Past-President / Communications

Juan, otherwise known as “Juancho” was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised there until 2001 when he and his family immigrated to Saint Paul, Minnesota, USA. Juancho attended the University of Milwaukee-Wisconsin from 2012-2017, where he graduated with a bachelor’s in biology and environmental sciences. Currently, Juancho is a fourth-year veterinary student at the Ontario Veterinary College in Canada. He is passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the veterinary profession. His veterinary interests include physical rehabilitation, ophthalmology, emergency medicine, practice ownership, and taking on other leadership roles.

“Creer es poder! – believe, and you will achieve!”

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