Becoming Dr. Q

Becoming Dr. Q

My Journey From Migrant Farm Worker to Brain Surgeon

Book - 2011
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Baker & Taylor
Chronicles the life of Dr. Q, former poor migrant worker who is now an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting-edge research to cure brain cancer.

University of California Press
"This is a spell-binding story of a champion who harnessed the power of passion and dogged determination to triumph over adversity. Be prepared to laugh, cry and to come away enlightened not just about the human brain and its miraculous capacities but also about the human heart." --Venus Williams, author of Come to Win

"Ever since I first heard Dr. Q's story, my main question was: how does a migrant farm worker with no money and no English overcome the odds and pursue his aspirations at the highest levels of the medical field? Wow--not only is it the stuff of which fairy tales and Hollywood movies are made, but it's also much needed prescription for the soul." --Chris Gardner, author ofThe Pursuit of Happyness

"When I first met Dr. Q, I thought he had an angel watching out for him--defying death more than once and overcoming the odds of class and racial discrimination. After reading his truly inspirational memoir, I can say that Dr. Q doesn't have an angel. He is simply one of us--a human being who chooses to believe in the capacity of people. And now, every time I see an 'invisible' undocumented immigrant, I see a potential brain surgeon. This is a book about humility, being a dreamer and the power ofesperanza--hope." --Maria Hinojosa, award-winning NPR/PBS anchor and author ofRaising Raul andCrews

"Becoming Dr. Q is a book that should be read by all highschoolers and college students--it's about how to overcome hardship, about how to believe in our heart's hope, about not allowing your dreams to be co-opted by mediocrity. This should be a handbook for never giving up on your dreams, and if followed, the world would become a greater place for peace, respect and love. Read it--laugh, cry, share in Dr. Q's magnificent journey!" --Jimmy Santiago Baca, author ofA Glass of Water

"Becoming Dr. Q is a gem of a book--an amazing journey of a young man who entered the United States at age 19 as a non-documented migrant farm worker. Through brilliance and hard work, he gained entry to the top-rated Harvard Medical School. Now at Johns Hopkins, he is recognized as a world-renowned neurosurgeon. It was a pleasure to know Alfredo when he was a trailblazing student at Harvard. Everyone who reads this book will be enriched by his inspiring story." --Alvin F. Poussaint, MD, Harvard Medical School

"The life of Dr. Q is a testament to the power of poverty to motivate social ascent, of intellectual prowess to scale academia's heights, and to the power of altruism to give back through the most highly developed medical treatment and creation of new knowledge, through mentoring the next generation, and through his own unique family." --Joe L. Martinez, Jr., Professor Emeritus, UC Berkeley

"Quite simply, Dr. Q is a hero to many people in the Hispanic community. He went from the farm fields in California to the most advanced operating rooms in the country. He earned $3.35 an hour cultivating tomatoes and chili peppers in the San Joaquin Valley. What makes his journey unique is that the same hands that picked vegetables are now touch the brains of his patients and saving lives. He did, in just one life, what usually takes two or three generations. I can't think of a better example of what an immigrant with ambition and dedication can do in this great country of opportunities. He is, no doubt, a real hero." --Jorge Ramos, Senior News Anchor,Univision News

"This is the most amazing success story you'll ever read. Be it fiction or non-fiction, there is not another book out there that competes with the rags to stitches tale of Dr. Q. If you are an illegal, Mexican, migrant farmer, it's hard enough to make it from paycheck to paycheck in America, let alone from paycheck to crew supervisor to community college to medical school to brain surgeon. Really, the only thing more amazing than how far he has come, is how far he is likely to go.

Today he is known as Dr. Q, an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads cutting-edge research to cure brain cancer. But not too long ago, he was Freddy, a nineteen-year-old undocumented migrant worker toiling in the tomato fields of central California. In this gripping memoir, Alfredo Quiñones-Hinojosa tells his amazing life story—from his impoverished childhood in the tiny village of Palaco, Mexico, to his harrowing border crossing and his transformation from illegal immigrant to American citizen and gifted student at the University of California at Berkeley and at Harvard Medical School. Packed with adventure and adversity—including a few terrifying brushes with death—Becoming Dr. Q is a testament to persistence, hard work, the power of hope and imagination, and the pursuit of excellence. It’s also a story about the importance of family, of mentors, and of giving people a chance.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c2011.
ISBN: 9780520271180
Branch Call Number: 617.092
Characteristics: 317 p., [24] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors: Rivas, Mim Eichler


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May 03, 2017

Currently reading book and for what I can tell you its like watching a lifetime movie. One questions such resilience due to extreme hardships and obstacles. Once one brings fantasy differentiate from reality and yet its a product of non-fictional character. Its inspiring and warmth feeling of hope.

College of Marin, in Novato and Kentfield, California, chose this inspiring autobiography as our very first college-wide book this past academic year. It was a success, since many people, especially Latina/o students and ESL students, were moved by his amazing story. Dr. Q is a very generous and kind person, and community college made a huge difference in his life. Please see videos and other resources related to this book at

Sep 22, 2013

Dr. Quinones-Hinojosa sums it all up simply, “my less-than-conventional journey, the story of a little boy from Mexico who had been encouraged to be the architect of his own destiny”. What he shares in Becoming Dr. Q is how he came to be who he is today: an internationally renowned neurosurgeon and neuroscientist who leads the search to cure brain cancer while at the same time holding onto his heritage as the son of a hard-working and poor gas station owner and grandson of a natural healer. Dr. Q details his life from his youth without opportunity in Mexico to his time working as a young adult in the fields and cleaning out tank cars at the rail yards in the United States, to learning English and then his education to be a neurosurgeon. Dr. Q’s story is one of dogged determination, of creating opportunity where none would be found and creating a life for one’s family. This is a book for anyone who has a dream, is dealing with a hardship, or looking for motivation. Dr. Q’s story will help get readers through the hard times. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a true tale of hope and inspiration.


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