Dr. Diana Badillo ’00 has saved many lives throughout her career, but not always with medicine.
After graduating from RIT’s physician assistant program, Badillo, born and raised in Brooklyn, returned to the New York City area to treat patients at a men’s homeless shelter.
“I worked with the chronic homeless,” Badillo said. “These were men that people tried to ignore and stay away from on the subway or in the street. When I treated these men, it was the first time someone had actually touched or even looked at them in a while.”
Less than a year after Badillo treated a homeless man in his early 30s, he returned to the shelter almost unrecognizable.
“He was dressed in a suit, his hair was short and he was clean shaven. He had just gotten a new job,” Badillo said. “He’d come to thank me for changing his life. He told me I was the first person who had treated him like a human being in a long time. It had saved his life.”
These patients in turn inspired Badillo to pursue her medical degree at Stanford University so that she could provide underserved populations the best care possible. She is currently a primary care physician in a low-income neighborhood in Queens, serving a diverse population.
Badillo will be honored during Distinguished Alumni Award Week, April 11-15, at various on-campus events and celebrations as the Distinguished Alumna from the College of Health Sciences and Technology.
Badillo credits her education at RIT for allowing her to flourish in her career.
“Having gone further in my training as a physician, I realized how outstanding my education as a PA was,” she said.
And even though Badillo is an accomplished physician, she still believes that being a doctor is more than just providing medical treatment.
“The best part of the job is getting to be the person people turn to when they are in their greatest need. It’s an honor and privilege to be that first line when people need you. I get to give them hope.”
The Distinguished Alumni Award is presented to a certified alumnus/a who has performed with distinction at the highest levels of his or her chosen profession; or who has contributed significantly to the advancement and leadership of noteworthy civic, philanthropic, or service organizations over the course of many years. Those honored have brought distinction to their colleges and RIT through their professional, community and/or philanthropic achievements. Check back every Thursday for more from RIT’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni.