Recognizing distinguished alumni from Oceanside High School
Carmen Ruiz was born in Orange County and moved to Oceanside when she was four years old. She attended Oceanside schools and graduated from Oceanside High School in 1976. Carmen married and had two children and later worked at the Vons grocery store in Oceanside. After moving to a cashier position, she was laid off from her job. Carmen’s sons were three and five years old at this time. She felt overwhelmed and vulnerable. She knew she needed a college education to change her circumstances.
Even as a child, she had always had an affinity for the life sciences and medicine. She remembers how much she enjoyed the television show, Marcus Welby, M.D., and the thrill she received when she understood the medical information that she translated from the family physician to her Spanish-speaking mother. Carmen started down the path to become a doctor when she entered MiraCosta Community College. It took four years for her to complete her coursework at MiraCosta, yet she persevered while also raising her children.
She transferred to San Diego State University graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. From there she went to Harvard Medical School where she completed her medical doctorate, followed by a general surgery residency at Boston Medical Center. At the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, she completed a clinical fellowship in colon and rectal surgery complemented by a research fellowship in clinical trials.
Dr. Carmen Ruiz is now board certified in both general surgery and colon and rectal surgery. She is on faculty at the University of Oklahoma, College of Medicine in Tulsa as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery. She is also the program director for their surgery residency. Her sons “Bedo” and John are grown and married. Carmen has four grandchildren and a fifth expected to arrive in November 2014.