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Passion for health care, heritage led EMS director to Wake County

Posted September 16

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— Dr. Jose Cabañas is passionate about health care—that part is a given.

He knows the impact one doctor can have on one patient. But what he likes about being EMS medical director is that he can affect the masses.

"When you’re an EMS medical director, you have an opportunity to impact thousands of patients by something you change in practice in EMS system," Cabañas said.

Of course, that presents its own set of challenges.

Cabañas is tasked with making sure Wake County EMS delivers quality health care to an ever-growing population of people, often during their most vulnerable moments.

He moved here in 2008 from Puerto Rico, where he also worked as an emergency health care provider.

"It was a change," he said, laughing.

Cabañas ended up working as Wake County’s deputy medical director after EMS fellowship training at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

He left to work in Austin, Texas for a while, but the job led him back to the Triangle.

"There was another opportunity to return to Wake County and this time as a medical director," Cabañas said. "So, here I am."

He has always felt like he is part of a family here, one that's accepting of his culture and heritage.

"I’m very proud of being a Puerto Rican here in North Carolina, and for me it’s very special when I have the opportunity to share with people, my culture and where I came from," Cabañas said.

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