Bianca Silva believed her grandfather’s words, “Sí se puede,” which means roughly, “Yes, it is possible.”
Then there are more words to live by found in her mother’s advice: “If you can think it, you can make it happen.”
On May 20, the Fairfield, California, resident did just that, graduating with a DO degree from Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences College of Osteopathic Medicine. Silva is preparing for her first job this month as a family medicine resident physician at the Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center with the intention of serving the community where she was a teen.
Silva’s parents, Martin and Letty, work at the Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center. He is a gardener and she is an administrative assistant. Both supported their daughter’s dream of becoming a doctor focusing on medically underserved and vulnerable populations. After years of hard work, they are excited to see the dream come true.
“When Bianca was in middle school, my husband would pick her up from school as he was getting off his shift and bring her to me at the pharmacy,” Letty said. “She had to wait for 30 minutes until my shift ended because he worked the night shift and I worked the day shift. Bianca enjoyed her visits. She got to know the team and had an opportunity to be exposed to so much about working in the medical field. One day, Bianca said that she wanted to become a doctor when she grew up.”
A family affair
Silva was born at the Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center and raised in Richmond with her older brother, Martin Jr., and younger sister, Jessica. The family moved to Vallejo, where she attended Jesse Bethel High School and received most of her care at the Kaiser Permanente Vallejo Medical Center — where she would eventually match for residency.
Martin Silva has been employed at the Kaiser Permanente Richmond Medical Center since 1995, while Letty has worked on the same campus since 1987. A Richmond native, she had hoped to work at the organization since she was a little girl.
“We love our community,” Letty said. “We love to help our neighbors and our other family at Kaiser Permanente — it’s considered our home away from home.”
Of her daughter’s new degree, she said, “It took a lot of sacrifice and commitment, and it means everything. We are so proud of Bianca’s accomplishments.”
‘Give it your best’
Silva worked hard from a young age. Growing up, she helped her father with landscaping side jobs by picking up sticks and leaves in return for treats at McDonald’s.
“We believed it was important to teach responsibility and commitment,” Martin of his children. “We told our children that if they could think it, they could make it happen!”
Silva was especially close to her now deceased grandfather, Raul, who encouraged her to pursue her dream of becoming a doctor — “Sí se puede, echale ganas … Yes, you can, give it your best!”
“He motivated her to achieve her goal,” Letty said. “Bianca put in a lot of effort and never gave up. She’s looking forward to the day that she can visit his grave with her degree and let him know all about it. Although he couldn’t be at her graduation, Bianca knows deep in her heart that he was there with her in spirit.”