Celebrating Black History Month: Michelle Santos

Michelle Santos has spent her first year at Southcoast Health helping key leaders manage the region’s leading healthcare system.

Michelle doesn’t work directly with patients or doctors, but her work behind the scenes as an administrator for three key operational directors helps keep them organized — and the system’s workflow running smoothly.

“My motto is to be confident and believe in (myself). I put in the hard work and time to get to this position. I can do anything if I put my mind to it,” she said.

Michelle earned her Associate Degree in office management with a medical concentration from Bristol Community College, and worked for the Greater New Bedford Community Health Center. She was later hired by Southcoast Health, which provided her with the opportunity to get more involved in the business end of health care, which is what she wanted. She is happy with her new position.

“I’m afforded a lot of opportunities,” she said. “I’m supposed to be here. That’s how I feel.”

Michelle, a third-generation Cape Verdean-American, was born and raised in New Bedford, where she still lives in the South End not far from Fort Taber. She raised her daughter as a single mother and enjoys being a grandmother of two boys. She enjoys travel, participating in Cape Verdean cultural events, walking the neighborhood, spending time with her grandsons and friends, and watching her favorite sports teams (Go Pats and Celtics!).

Southcoast Health affords people of color real support and opportunities for growth, she said.

“Life can be tough for everybody, but it’s what you make of it and what you do with your time. There are opportunities for everyone,” she said. “Health equity is a global issue. As a society, we need to value all people equally. To achieve health equity, we must change the systems and policies that have resulted in the generational injustices that give rise to racial and ethnic health disparities.”

Michelle is deeply involved with the local Cape Verdean community and she is grateful for the emphasis that Black History Month provides.

“I’m proud to be Cape Verdean-American,” she said. “It’s very important to me. It’s who I am. It’s who we are.”

Someday, she hopes she will be able to visit Cape Verde, where she has never been, but where she feels a strong connection to her own past and that of her family.

“It’s on my bucket list,” she said.

To learn More about how Southcoast Health is shining light on health equity during Black History Month, please visit Celebrating Black History Month | Southcoast Health.