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Martes 3 de Octubre de 2023

My life in research: Doris Sequeira

"My goal is to have a good aging to continue contributing in the field of education to disseminate gerontology as a science that everyone at all levels should know".

I was born in Valparaiso, my first years were spent in Cerro Cordillera, and the rest of my life in Cerro Playa Ancha, except for when I worked as a primary care nurse in La Ligua, Paredones, and Santa Cruz.

I studied Nursing in one of the oldest schools in the country, at the Valparaiso Campus of the University of Chile; later I did an MBA in Organizational Management with a mention in Human Resources at the University of Valparaiso and later I obtained a scholarship from ANID to study the Doctorate in Social Gerontology at the University of Granada, Spain, where I obtained my Ph.D. with distinction (Lauden).

My research interest started when I was about 10 years old and for a birthday, I was given a Microscope.  I spent the days observing everything that fit under the lens. Also, when asking something, I was always told to "look it up in the dictionary or in the encyclopedia" which made me very angry because I wanted immediate answers but looking from a distance, I think that developed my eagerness to investigate.

When I worked as a nurse in rural areas, I had the great opportunity to find situations that caught my attention and interest in finding answers: for instance, in a locality where everyone was short in stature and did not distinguish colors. I also wanted to know why from October to March the children stopped attending school to go to work as seasonal workers and what their health conditions were. Or what were the reasons why the elderly consulted the local healthcare facility. The results of these investigations were presented at an annual conference held by the University of Chile in Rancagua and at the annual School of Public Health conference in Santiago.

Intuitively, I realized Chile was aging and that it was necessary to educate ourselves and begin to see in what conditions people age. This interest was accentuated when the person who took care of my children had an emergency health problem. I believed she was much older than me but we realized we were the same age and began to compare our life stories. I believe the information obtained has allowed me to implement self-care health education programs for the elderly, train my future peers, and motivate them to work with the elderly, complementing their training with the participation of older people in classes and projects.

My horizon is to age well and to continue contributing to the field of education, to spread gerontology as a science that should be known by everyone at all levels, to continue traveling, meeting people, and networking, and to continue studying and researching to keep a good cognitive state.

To new researchers, I recommend never losing their curiosity to look for answers to whatever catches their attention: it is possible to start with small projects that only require time, and little or no money but provide information. And don’t give up if they do not win large funds, the time will come! Also, do not forget that we study scientific evidence-based careers and this allows us to grow professionally and provide the best possible health care to those we serve.