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Pharmacist delivers compassionate care to his Cuban community

October 11, 2023 | 2 minute watch time

Pharmacist Orlando Vega and his 7-year-old patient Yazmin, a type 1 diabetic, have something in common. Their parents brought them from Cuba to the U.S. to improve their chance to live healthy normal lives. Grateful for the opportunity, Orlando now serves his Cuban community in Hialeah, Florida, with professionalism and an abundance of compassion — even making house calls.

“Orlando being a pharmacist from Cuba is very special,” says Lester Diaz, pharmacy district leader, who notes that cultural and language barriers can often be daunting for immigrants. “The Hispanic population needs a Spanish-speaking pharmacist, and this connection is so unique.”

At the Navarro store, where Orlando is a pharmacist, most patients and customers are Spanish speaking. Many are newly arrived from Cuba and are starting a new life. This was true for Yazmin’s family. They made the difficult decision to move to the Miami area when they couldn’t get the supplies they needed for Yazmin’s diabetes, including test strips to read her glucose.

“We had to have my aunt send them from the United States to Cuba. That’s how bad the situation became. That’s one of the reasons we left the country,” explains Yarelis Gomez, Yazmin’s mom.

Yarelis was so grateful not only for the medical care her daughter received but for the relationship that developed with her pharmacist Orlando. “He’s helped us so much by finding better technology for Yazmin to do blood tests. He reached out to the doctor and to our insurance provider to make this happen. And, when I asked him to come to our house when we were having trouble learning about the phone and new insulin pump, that’s when he and Yazmin bonded,” she adds.

“When I first met Yazmin, she had to prick her finger five or six times a day. She doesn’t have to do that anymore. Now she has a pump and a sensor that tells her how the blood glucose is,” explains Orlando. “Helping with this kind of technology, this is something that we, as pharmacists, can do. And I know, Yazmin is going to grow up to have a much more normal life. A wonderful life.”

October is National Pharmacists Month. This month, and every month, we thank you, Orlando, for being a true hero to your patients in the Hispanic community.

Ricardo Lopez 00:14:

This is over 90% Hispanic community, mostly composed of Cubans. Navarro is a recognized brand, not only in Miami, also in Cuba. When we get immigrants for Cuba coming to a Navarro store, they want to feel at home.

Orlando Vega 00:42:

In the Navarro pharmacies, we have a religion, which is serving coffee to our patients.


It built relationships. That warm feeling that you are welcome here. It's a little touch.

Lester Diaz 00:57:

Orlando is different from other pharmacists in the sense of his engagement, the way that he treats his patient. The pharmacy team, they feed from his energy. Orlando being a pharmacist from Cuba in this community that is very special.

Ricardo Lopez 01:10:

He understands the culture. He understands what the patient wants in order to feel care and come back to the store.

Orlando Vega 01:17:

When I was young, at an age of five years old, I was back in Cuba. I was diagnosed with asthma. This is the best decision my parents could have ever taken, bringing me to this country, which has given me so many opportunities. My mom became a nurse. My dad is an accountant. I have a younger brother. He's a firefighter. One of my brothers is a pharmacist too.

Ricardo Lopez 01:43:

The Hispanic population. Overall, there is a high incidence of multiple kind of chronic diseases, like for example, diabetes.

Orlando Vega 01:52:

When I first met Yazmin on her mother, just looking at those big eyes and seeing her, I could see myself.

Lester Diaz 02:02:

Because we're talking about a seven year old girl with type one diabetes. These patients required a lot of medications, treatment, follow ups, and the fact that Orlando has been able to impact not only Yazmin's life, but also the family's life. It's been an amazing story.

Yarelis Gomez 02:24:

My daughter is diabetic. She has been since 11 months of age. The care in Cuba, at first, they had the things she needed for her diabetes. A time later when she was about two years old, everything started to disappear from the pharmacy.


He showed me how to put in the Dexcom, how to put in the Omnipod, how to put in the insulin, and how I had to give it to her. As a mother, I feel very satisfied with all they've done to help me. I call him and he's there.

Lester Diaz 03:10:

Well, Orlando, every single day, he bring his heart to the pharmacy. He's so passionate about it that the patient can feel it.

Orlando Vega 03:18:

Giving back to the community and having that one-on-one relationship, it's the joy I look forward to every day.

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