Faces of Our Community: Michael Galvez Faces of Our Community

July 30, 2018
Photo of Michael Galvez

A career in medicine runs in the family for Michael Galvez, a practicing hand surgeon and Diablo Valley College alum. However, that did not make his quest to be a surgeon any shorter, or easier. According to Galvez, Diablo Valley College was “the stimulus” that paved the way to his career in medicine.

Born in San Francisco, and raised in the East Bay, Galvez’s grandfather, a former pediatric surgeon from Lima, Peru, sparked his initial interest in the medical field.

“My grandfather would take care of us when we were young since we grew up uninsured,” said Galvez. “I was inspired by him at a young age to pursue medicine, but I didn’t have the grades in high school to go to a four-year college.”

In 2000, after attending Northgate High School, Galvez began his higher-education journey at Diablo Valley College. He took advantage of resources available, including tutoring sessions for math and sciences and guidance from transfer counselors who laid out a clear pathway to a four-year university.

“By far, my favorite aspect about Diablo Valley College was that there was small group learning,” said Galvez. “The classroom size was small and you could always ask questions and approach the teacher after class. By combing all of the resources at Diablo Valley College, I was able to excel to achieve the grades I needed to transfer.”

Galvez attributes learning life-long good study habits to his community college days.

While reflecting on the many inspiring moments in his career, Galvez highlights working in a lab at Diablo Valley College on DNA sequencing of the human genome as one of his original inspirations.

“The lab position, in combination with being at Diablo Valley College, motivated me to excel,” said Galvez. “I was motivated and I had the resources to do well.”

After two years at Diablo Valley College, Galvez transferred to University of California, Berkeley where he earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology. Following Berkeley, he spent two years conducting research at the University of California, San Francisco and shadowing physicians.

In 2005, he began medical school at Stanford University, where he went on to complete his six-year plastic and reconstructive surgery residency. Currently, Galvez is carrying out a fellowship in hand surgery at the University of Washington, and a second fellowship in pediatric hand surgery at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, Texas.

Starting February 2019, he will join the pediatric plastic surgery team at Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera and lead in pediatric hand surgery.

Along the way, mentorships have been a vital part of his medical career. He has had many mentors throughout all phases of his higher education, and has served as a mentor to students at all levels of schooling.

His advice to current and potential students: Take advantage of community college, it has a lot to offer.

“What may seem like a very beginner course at times are the building blocks for your undergraduate degree to eventually medical school,” said Galvez.

For a glimpse into Galvez’s journey, visit his Instagram page at @michaelgalvezmd. He utilizes social media as a tool to motivate and inspire students considering the medical field.