Southcoast Honors Spanish American Heritage Month: Dr. Eliesel Lacerda De La Cruz

Dr. Eliesel Lacerda De La Cruz is an Infectious Diseases Specialist and Medical Director of Antimicrobial Stewardship in the Department of Medicine. He has worked with Southcoast Heath for three years.

Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz is fluent in Spanish because of his Dominican Republic roots. His bilingual abilities and infectious disease specialty made him a vital asset both in our hospitals and the community when COVID-19 reached the South Coast. “I participated in various media, including local Hispanic radio shows, to inform the community regarding COVID-19.”

Growing up in DR, baseball is king. Some of his favorite childhood memories revolve around his family partaking in the sport. “Baseball is the Dominican Republic’s favorite pastime. It is almost an obsession.”

Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz’s mother comes from a large family of 14 brothers and sisters, creating a competitive atmosphere when it comes to rival teams. “My grandmother and grandfather were fans of rival teams of the Dominican winter league. As a result, several of my uncles, aunts, and cousins landed on those rival teams. Watching baseball at my grandma’s home was an extraordinary experience.”

The family would divide into two groups to cheer on their teams. “The jabbing was epic. Every hit, run, and strikeout would spark roars and claps. Picture something like Yankees versus the Red Sox. Then we will all have dinner together. The yapping and rubbing the victory on the losing side would continue until Grandma or Grandpa (depending whose team lost) would shout ‘enough.’ It was awesome.”

Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz’s favorite food is white rice with green pigeon peas and meatballs. “My mother still cooks it for me every time I go back home.”

He believes Hispanic people and heritage are an important part of the rich American culture with its many different shapes, colors, and flavors.

“We are warm, we laugh a lot, are loud, and also hardworking people. We represent a diverse group and although we speak the same language there is an important difference between someone from the Caribbean like me and someone from South or Central America.”

Dr. Lacerda De La Cruz recommends his fellow Southcoast Health employees explore the Hispanic culture and indulge in the food, music, and culture. “If you have time to travel and visit some of the countries, you will not regret it.”