Since 1981, Mary Meza, PT, M.S., D.P.T., Cert MDT and rehab services director, has worked at the Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital.
When asked about her position during an interview with Texas Health, she remarked, “As a rehab director, I was very moved by the resilience, flexibility, and compassion shown by my work team and other hospital staff during the pandemic. What did surprise me was the degree to which misinformation about important healthcare measures were dividing our country and producing sad outcomes,” said Meza. “My entire work-life has been devoted to helping people heal, and it’s been so painful to see some of the pandemic results. Even still, I’m an optimist, and I still pray we’ll come out stronger in the end.”
She said her parents grew on little farms as Mexican-Americans in South Texas. Meza started life in Falfurrias, where she was born. She moved to Dallas in the summer leading up to first grade.
Meza began as an English major while in college but soon recognized she did not want that. Instead, she wanted to have passion for whatever she chose to do.
Meza remarked, “So, I researched the health science fields. I had never heard of physical therapy, but when I read the PT brochure, it hit me, this was the field for me! Learning how the amazing human body works and using science, exercise, and movement to help people regain function sounded like the perfect career for someone with my interests. That turned out to be true.”
During the interview, Meza was asked, “What’s something people would be surprised to know about you?”
She responded, saying, “I’m involved with my hospital’s ‘Dialogue on Race’ initiative, and we recently discussed racial discrimination. As a person of color growing up in North Texas in the 1960s, I experienced times in my life when I was treated or spoken to so wrongly just because I was Mexican-American. I don’t think of myself as a ‘victim’ because I have a blessed life, but active racial bias does create a process of victimization.”
The interview continued by asking, “How do you honor your heritage? What do you hope resonates with others during National Hispanic Heritage Month?”
She answered the question, saying, “I speak Spanish when appropriate or needed, adding Hispanic traditions to our American customs during special holidays, and by striving to maintain cultural values, such as love of family, respect for elders, hard work, and a faith-filled life.”
Meza continued, “People of color are often underrepresented or go unrecognized in our history books, which is why it’s important to highlight their contributions with a national heritage month. So, during this month and throughout the year, I hope non-Hispanics take time to learn about different cultures and become encouraged to increase their awareness of what makes our country great, as we are a nation of wonderfully diverse immigrants.”