Updated: Aug 8
It is with pride and joy I present to you the next member of Team Do Good, the mighty Mariana Giron. I am absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to celebrate Mariana here via Tampa Bless and Team Do Good. Her willingness to participate in this feature and to provide feedback is highly appreciated. And now, without further ado...
Name: Mariana Giron
Place of birth: Miami, FL
Currently reside: Tampa, FL
Family: My husband’s name is Brooks, and we have a 1-year-old boy, Gabriel. I am an only child and was raised in a single-parent household by my mother, Emyria. We have a huge extended family all over the place (Colombia, Kansas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and South Florida).
Alma Mater: Cornell University (undergraduate), University of Pennsylvania (medical school).
Occupation: Family Medicine with Obstetrics Physician, Medical Director at Guiding Star Tampa - *Update: Guiding Star Tampa is now LifeChoices Family Medical https://lifechoicesmedical.com/
Activities you organized or participate in related to helping others and uplifting humanity? I realize this is an uncomfortable question to answer because it feels self-promotional, yet it's important to share so to inspire others:
Ever since I was in medical school, I have sought to become knowledgeable in fertility-awareness based methods of family planning, which is something I offer my patients on a daily basis.
Since 2012, I have been involved with FACTS (Fertility Appreciation Collaborative to Teach the Science), an organization that seeks to educate medical professionals about the natural methods to regulate fertility. I currently serve as a mentor to medical students who are interested in learning about these methods so they can incorporate them into their future practice.
I am also a member of the Catholic Medical Association and will soon form part of the Spanish Outreach Subcommittee. Throughout my medical training, I have provided care to patients in different parts of the globe, including Botswana, Uganda, Thailand, and Colombia.
The Tampa Bless 12
1) Favorite pastime or hobby? Why? Please explain.
My favorite hobby is to travel. I am in my element when I am walking the streets of a foreign country, surrounded by people who speak a different language and tasting foods I’ve never tried before. I love that slightly uncomfortable feeling of stepping out of the gates of an airport into the unknown. Travel, especially international travel, has opened my eyes to what the world looks like outside my bubble. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know people from different cultures who have a completely different worldview. Also, God often speaks to me through the beauty of His creation, which is why I treasure getting to see different landscapes around the world. I have been blessed to have visited all but one continent, Antarctica! One day.
2) Favorite sport, team, or player? If not into sports, your favorite musician or album? Or answer one of each if you’d like or any combo. Please explain why for any one or more of the questions you answered.
My favorite sports team is the Kansas City Chiefs. I grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas, so the Chiefs have always been on my radar. It’s interesting because prior to meeting my husband, I knew nothing about football. He’s given me a few lessons over the years, and now I am able to understand and actually enjoy watching a football game. And with the Chiefs being the best team around and having the best quarterback in the NFL, I naturally chose them as my favorite sports team. And yes, Pat Mahomes is my favorite player. Tom Brady comes in a close second.
3) Favorite movie? Why? Please explain.
It’s a Wonderful Life. Makes me cry every time, plus I love Christmas movies. I absolutely love the main message and premise of the movie, which is to illustrate to the viewer the many ways in which we touch people’s lives without even realizing it.
4) Favorite place (country, city, town, etc…) you have visited and why?
Assisi, Italy. Wow, what an incredible place. Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but also spiritually powerful. St. Francis is one of my favorite saints, so walking around the places where he established his ministry was especially moving. You can just feel his presence in the air!
5) Last meal? You could have anything, what is it? Why? Please explain.
My mom’s Colombian empanadas. The dough is made out of cornflour and the filling consists of meat, potatoes, and spices. They are fried and delicious.
6) Three activities or routines you would highly recommend? Please explain your reasoning for each.
1. Daily mass. The most joyful times of my life have been when I have made a commitment to go to daily mass. These are also the times when I have experienced the most clarity about God’s plans for my life.
2. Exercise. As a physician, I have to tell you that the one intervention that has been shown to prolong life is regular, moderate-intensity exercise. It is also a great way to maintain a healthy mind.
3. Backpacking. It takes a lot of preparation and you need to have some training in outdoor skills (such as knowing how to purify your own water and use portable gas stoves), but it is so worth it. There is nothing like spending entire days hiking in the mountains, cooking your own food, making your own shelter, and carrying everything you need on your back. Sleeping under the stars is a truly unique experience.
A. Integrity. I admire people who are honest in their work. This is especially important in healthcare because we deal with people’s lives and our actions directly impact patient outcomes.
B. Dishonesty. It is difficult to establish a trusting relationship with people who are dishonest in their feelings and actions.
8) Favorite thinker (author, philosopher, theologian, etc…)? Why? Please explain. And what is your favorite piece of advice, quote, or text from them or in general? Why? Please explain.
Pope Paul VI. His encyclical, Humana Vitae, has been crucially formative in my career as a family medicine physician. The following excerpt has been my main motivation to pursue in-depth training in fertility-awareness based methods for family planning, which is a significant part of my practice: “Our next appeal is to men of science. These can 'considerably advance the welfare of marriage and the family and also peace of conscience, if by pooling their efforts they strive to elucidate more thoroughly the conditions favorable to a proper regulation of births.' It is supremely desirable, and this was also the mind of Pius XII, that medical science should by the study of natural rhythms succeed in determining a sufficiently secure basis for the chaste limitation of offspring. In this way scientists, especially those who are Catholics, will by their research establish the truth of the Church's claim that 'there can be no contradiction between two divine laws—that which governs the transmitting of life and that which governs the fostering of married love.'"
9) Biggest influence in your life or a top one, and what was it about them that really stood out?
My mom has been the greatest influence in my life. One of the traits I admire the most about her is her generosity. She is someone who lovingly gives without measure. She has taught me to share our treasure with others “until it hurts,” not just out of our excess.
10) If there is one thing you could change in the world, what would it be?
Maternal mortality. There is no reason for mothers around the world to be dying during childbirth. We have come very far in the field of obstetrics to reduce death and complications during childbirth, but unfortunately, mothers are still dying at alarming rates in developing countries. One of the main solutions is affordable and accessible: providing adequate prenatal care to mothers around the world. We just have to get the right resources to the right places, but of course, it is easier said than done. 11) Where did your desire to help others and uplift humanity come from? Please explain.
As I explained in question #9, my desire to help others came from my mother. She has taught me that it is my duty to share my gifts and talents with others, especially those who have less than me. My desire to help others was further deepened as I grew in my faith as an adult. God put it in my heart to pursue medicine as a mission to improve the lives of my brothers and sisters in Christ. 12) What are you working on now and how can people get involved?
Currently, I am living my dream. I am serving as the medical director at Guiding Star Tampa, where I also practice full-spectrum family medicine. It has been a joy working for this wonderful organization that seeks to provide excellent medical care to our Tampa families in an environment that truly upholds the dignity of the human person.
Guiding Star embodies what authentic Catholic healthcare should be. We are guided by the principles of the Church, especially the mission to show Christ’s love to every patient who comes through our doors. We see patients from all socioeconomic, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. A large part of our patient population is uninsured, and we form part of a state program that allows uninsured women to have a full annual exam and labs at no cost. People can support our ministry by choosing us as their healthcare provider and participating in our fundraising activities throughout the year. You can stay informed by following us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/guidingstartampa/ or visiting our website: guidingstartampa.com.
Editor’s Note: Guiding Star Tampa is located in the Chateau Professional Park at 18560 North Dale Mabry Hwy in Lutz, just south of the main entrance to Cheval. Easily accessible from the Veterans Expressway. To make an appointment, you can call 813.948.7734.
You can support Guiding Star Tampa with your financial gifts - https://www.myegiving.com/App/Giving/eGiving-336733
Additionally, AmazonSmile customers can now support Guiding Star Tampa in the Amazon shopping app on iOS and Android mobile phones! Simply follow these instructions to turn on AmazonSmile and start generating donations:
1. Open the Amazon Shopping app on your device.
2. Go into the main menu of the Amazon Shopping app and tap into 'Settings.'
3. Tap 'AmazonSmile' and follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.
If you do not have the latest version of the Amazon Shopping app, update your app.
*Update: Guiding Star Tampa is now LifeChoices Family Medical https://lifechoicesmedical.com/
Thank you so much for your time Mariana and for all that you do. The place we live in is that much better because of you. I hope that this feature has served to inspire you, as well as successfully celebrate those that help others and uplift humanity.
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