Meet the Scientist – Dr. Lourdes (Luly) Rosales-Guevara

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What do scientists and mystery buffs have in common? The challenge of a good investigation.

ATSDR scientist Lourdes (Luly) Rosales-Guevara. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rosales-Guevara.
ATSDR scientist Lourdes (Luly) Rosales-Guevara. Photo courtesy of Dr. Rosales-Guevara.

The journey to public health.

Originally from Cuba, Dr. Lourdes (Luly) Rosales-Guevara’s family was granted political asylum in the United States after they left Cuba on April 6, 1968. She was 16 years old. Dr. Rosales-Guevara was educated in Zaragoza, Spain, where she also attended Medical School, graduating in 1980 with a degree in Medicine and Surgery. After completing her medical education, she successfully completed the ECFMG (Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates) 3-day examination, thus allowing her to seek a Residency Program in Pediatrics.

Luly, as she prefers to be called, did an internship in Morristown Memorial Hospital (affiliated with Columbia University Medical Center in New York) and a pediatric residency in St. Joseph’s Regional Medical Center, in Paterson, New Jersey (affiliated with University Hospital, Newark, New Jersey). She holds medical licenses in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut.

A passion for children’s health, serving the public, and working with underprivileged communities.

Passionate about children’s health and children’s health issues, Luly always aspired to serve the public and work with underprivileged communities. “Working on behalf of children’s welfare has always been a passion for me. When I was practicing clinical pediatrics, before I came to ATSDR, I dedicated my life to work for underprivileged families, working hard to prevent children from becoming ill, to improve the health of those that were sick and in general improve their lives. For two years, I worked with the Connecticut State Attorney’s Office as the Medical Advisor for the Child Sexual Evaluation Team, reviewing cases of child sexual abuse. It was very hard, but had to be done.”

Former and current work projects.

After managed care came to Connecticut, Luly made the decision to transition from the private sector to the federal sector, joining ATSDR in 1998. She was familiar with CDC and ATSDR, and through a colleague learned about the need for pediatricians in support of former President Clinton’s Child Health Initiative. Luly believed she could continue to make a difference in the lives of children, but on a much larger scale. Her first position was in ATSDR’s former Division of Health Education and Promotion, as a Medical Officer doing health education work. Luly served as a technical project officer for the ATSDR-supported Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Unit (PEHSU) network. The units were the collaborative effort of the Association of Occupational and Environmental Clinics (AOEC), EPA, and ATSDR. PEHSU staff are national leaders in children’s environmental health, and available to physicians, nurses, and parents nationwide to contact with environmental health concerns pertaining to children. Luly is most proud of this effort.

Luly’s work continued in ATSDR’s Division of Community Health Investigations Science Support Branch where she has been involved in exposure investigations such as in Corpus Christi where private citizens petitioned ATSDR about health concerns related to chemicals in the city’s air, water, and soil. She also is serving as the principal investigator of the Colorado Smelter lead and arsenic exposure investigation in Pueblo. The Science Support Branch supports exposure investigation, dose reconstruction, and statistical analysis across ATSDR’s 10 geographic regions.

Activities enjoyed when not at work.

What do scientists and mystery buffs have in common? The challenge of a good investigation. When not at work, Luly loves music, traveling, trivia, and English Murder Mysteries on TV (Agatha Christie’s Marple, and Poirot; Midsomer Murders; and, Sherlock Holmes). She also continually reads the collection of Handy Answer Books in various disciplines, such as, history, art, and psychology.

Luly has a son and daughter-in-law who are both attorneys working in Washington, DC. In her office, she is surrounded by a montage of photos of family, friends, and her dog (Duke) that she adores. Luly talked openly about being a breast cancer survivor, and has been cancer-free since 2008.

“I have had a wonderful career in pediatrics, preventing children’s illness through fabulous immunization programs that we had implemented at the clinics we worked, and also improving children’s health through great quality of care, compassion and state-of-the-art knowledge.”

“ATSDR has given me the opportunity to work with communities at various sites, getting to know a great variety of people of all walks of life at work [headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia] and during my site work.”


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4 comments on “Meet the Scientist – Dr. Lourdes (Luly) Rosales-Guevara”

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    Great example of Hispanic leadership! Her story will inspire the next generation of public health professionals. Congratulations, Dr. Luly. Muchas bendiciones.


    Luly : Me costo trabajo encontrar tu direccion. Solamente felicitarte pues hoy es tu santo Nuestra Senora de Lourdes a la cual tengo gran devocion.

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Page last reviewed: August 11, 2015
Page last updated: August 11, 2015