Featured Doctor

MEOÑO MARTIN, Prof Thomas (English/español)

Costa Rica -CEO elect Iberoamericana

Thomas Meoño Martin of Costa Rica is the CEO elect of the Iberoamericana region.


What work do you do now?

Since December 2014 I have been the President of the Association of Specialists in Family and Community Medicine in Costa Rica (medfamcom); where with the support of the other members of the Board, we carry out a continuous process of strengthening the specialty in all areas.

I’m also the Director of the School of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Central America (U.A.C.A. for its acronym in Spanish) and a Family and Community Physician in the Primary Care Setting in Cartago, the third province of Costa Rica.

I worked as a general practitioner for seven years before joining the Family and Community Medicine specialty (four years of academic training), which I have performed in different scenarios during the last five years.

Actually, as a family doctor I am in charge of the continuing medical education of general practitioners; I am part of the support team of the Health Area, where I participate in the decision making based on the health indicators of the region; filter references from the 21 EBAIS (Basic Primary Care Teams) that constitute the area on cases of patients who might require attention by other specialists in the second or third level of attention, otherwise I offer them guidance for resolution of the situation that gave rise to the reference; and, coordinate the home visit to bedridden patients who cannot move to receive medical care in hospitals. I am also the local cancer liaison, with responsibilities ranging from the coordination of preventive programs to monitoring the management of malignant pathologies by general practitioners.

In the academic setting, I am the head of decision-making in medical curriculum, student progress, clinical fields where they perform their rotations, teacher performance, inclusion of new technologies, national and international projection of the career; and, the financial aspects to successfully carry out the annual activities of the school.

Other interesting things you have done?

I participated in the National Commission on Chronic Non-communicable Diseases, and I was part of the CCSS Cancer Technical Coordination for three years as an adviser on breast cancer issues, especially in relation to early detection strategies and timely approach to patients diagnosed with the disease.

I am a Certified Diabetes Educator, which has allowed me to work directly with patient associations, provide education to general practitioners and share with other specialists in the subject regarding the adequate approach of patients, based on the national reality.

I was also professor of the courses of Anatomy, Embryology, Physiology, Pathophysiology and Semiology; in the School of Medicine of the UACA since 2003.

What is it like to be a young family doctor in Costa Rica?

Being a family doctor in Costa Rica is a continuous challenge, the specialty in general has not been much supported by health institutions; however, in recent years we have seen a change, we are valued by the high and cost-effective resolution capacity.

The new generations of family physicians find fertile ground to develop their skills, increasing support from their headquarters and co-workers.

Working conditions are good and can easily be located at any of the three levels of public care, and even in private ones.

We are few specialists trained for the real need that the country has, only about 10 to 12 residents per year enter the specialty and we have only one formal training program in the whole country.

As a young family doctors, we must deal battles to obtain the respect and the confidence of the other specialists, who over time have learned to see the Family Doctor as an ally in the effective management of medical care.

There is so much to learn and much to do to achieve in the positioning of the specialty, however we are sure to get consolidated spaces where we will develop projects that impact individual and community health.

What are your interests outside work?

I like to read modern novels, classic films, good red wine and I am passionate about traveling and getting to know other cultures, their customs and their ways of preparing food.

I love interpersonal relationships and their manifestations in different cultures, the importance of the family as a vital support.

Social networks have become my instrument of communication on medical issues as well as personal and social development, and as a way of understanding the new generations.

Respect for diversity and equity are my banners; transparency, loyalty, cooperation and selfless love of neighbor are my reasons for being.

My family and my partner are the engine that makes each day wonderful and full, with its challenges and rewards; get up every day hoping for a better tomorrow comforted me and allows me to visualize the way in which I can continue working for a better health care in general.