DENVER (KDVR) — We have countless impactful women in the Mile High. We asked you to nominate the woman who most makes a difference in your life, and you did.
One of our finalists, Josina O’Connell is inspiring others through her refusal to accept “no” for an answer.
“At age 3 I wanted to do this. I had my sights set on it all my life,” said O’Connell.
She’s talking about becoming a doctor. But there was a problem, time and time again she was denied entry into medical school.
“The pre-health advisor looked me in the face and said this is not a career you’re going to make it in. You’re not going to be a doctor,” said O’Connell.
She tabled her dream of being a physician and became a public school teacher. She taught for 17 years while raising three babies.
But years late, an encounter with her son opened her eyes.
“I was driving him to symphony practice- he said, ‘I don’t want to go. Can I not go tonight?’ ‘No, you’re going they count on you.’ ‘Why do you push me so hard?’ ‘Because you will never know to which heights you can go unless I push you along’ and he said, ‘that’s great coming from you who never became a doctor!’ That was my wakeup call at age 40,” said O’Connell.
At the age of 44, she was granted admission to the CU Anschutz school of medicine.
Her dream of becoming a doctor started when she saw the lack of care her grandfather received in New Mexico.
“My heart goes into underserved care. My heart goes into Hispanic/Latino that population,” said O’Connell.
Now she lives out her mission of providing health care to those who need it. She sees patients in urban parts of Colorado, while also teaching at the University of Colorado.
One of her students nominated her for this Remarkable Women contest.
Her student Ashley wrote, “She inspires us all daily through her passion, resiliency, tenacity, empathy, positivity and stories of personal triumphs.”
But what does O’Connell says she’s most proud of? “My children,” she said.
O’Connell truly is remarkable, using her talents and gifts to inspire and serve others.