Hometown hero: TCOM grad thriving in pediatrics and Fort Worth
A Fort Worth born and raised girl dreams of becoming a physician since childhood, becomes a first–generation college graduate, first–generation medical student and then returns home to begin her career as a pediatrician.
That’s just the cliff notes version of Dr. Bianka Soria-Olmos, a 2011 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine graduate and Cook Children’s Medical Center primary care pediatric physician.
Her story, and life for that matter, begins with osteopathic medicine. Dr. Soria-Olmos was born in the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas, right smack in the middle of TCOM’s campus in 1985. As a youth, Dr. Soria-Olmos dressed up for Halloween as a physician and it wasn’t a passing fad. She donned scrubs multiple times in her childhood trick or treating days.
“My mom will tell you that my answer to the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” really never changed since the time its commonly asked around Pre-K/Kindergarten,” she said. “I want to be a doctor.”
Growing up in Fort Worth, Dr. Soria-Olmos was influenced heavily by her parents. Her mother’s administrative job had her around a doctor’s office frequently and gave her an inside look at her dream profession. Her father struggled at a young age to help support his family and never finished high school, but the lessons they taught Dr. Soria-Olmos remained with her.
“I come from a long line of strong women,” she said. “I know the values they instilled in me are truly one of the big reasons I was able to further my education and attain my career goal. The Hispanic culture in those times was very much founded on the work a woman does in the home. This strong foundation, I feel, has helped me with the multitasking that is necessary to be a mom, wife and physician.”
She attended North Side High School and was active in their magnet program, which focused on health professions. Dr. Soria-Olmos flourished at TCU and became a first-generation college graduate in 2007, but she always had her eye on medical school. TCOM, osteopathic medicine and Fort Worth was the perfect combination.
“I decided osteopathic medicine was the philosophy and approach to medicine I wanted to pursue after having the opportunity growing up to meet some exceptional osteopathic physicians that were former TCOM graduates,” said Dr. Soria-Olmos. “I come from a very close–knit family and being able to be close was always going to be a plus.”
At TCOM, Dr. Soria-Olmos gravitated towards pediatrics, and Dr. W. Paul Bowman, TCOM’s Chair of Pediatrics and Women’s Health, saw something special in her.
“Bianka is a role model,” Dr. Bowman said. “She was a very dedicated student, the top of her class and excellent in all her endeavors. She fulfilled her dream of returning to her roots, to home and family, and to be warmly welcomed as a practicing pediatrician where she had her first clinical experiences as a TCOM medical student. Talk about full circle—does it get any better than that?”
After graduating in 2011, Dr. Soria-Olmos earned one of the most prestigious residency spots in the nation at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston.
“At the time it was a bit more difficult to be considered by the residency program there,” said Dr. Soria-Olmos. “It is quite competitive, and it had been quite some time since a DO had been accepted there. I’m happy to say since my time there many more TCOM students and other DOs have been accepted there. I like to think I had something to do with that.”
Undoubtedly, she did. Residency was the first time she lived outside Fort Worth, so returning home was always the goal. She is now a practicing pediatric primary care physician with Cook Children’s, and as a thriving Hispanic female, she sees there is much more she can do.
“I have always felt a calling to pay it forward and serve as a role model for young people to see that they too can achieve their goals,” said Dr. Soria-Olmos. “I am an active member of many mentorship organizations, specifically for Hispanic and Latina girls that to help them achieve their goal of college admittance, as many of them are first generation pursing college education.
“I am also an advocate for my community, especially the predominately Spanish–speaking community. I have worked with Cook Children’s recently to build a source for evidence–based medicine education in Spanish. A well–known resource previously available in English, Cook Children’s Checkup Newsroom is now available in Spanish due to our efforts to get up to date evidence–based information to our patients.”