DOWNEY - Dr. Sonia Molina, who escaped war-torn El Salvador when she was a teenager to later become a successful Harvard-educated dentist, received the 3rd Annual Mujeres Destacadas (Distinguished Women's Award) sponsored by the Spanish-language daily newspaper, La Opinion.Molina, the founder and owner of Molina Endodontics in Downey, was recognized in the award's health category where she "exemplified exceptional contributions that have advanced the health of Latinos." Along with four other Hispanic women, Molina was recognized as a "true unsung hero in the community" during ceremonies held at Cathedral Plaza in downtown Los Angeles last month. "It is an honor to be recognized for the work that I'm truly privileged to be able to perform every day in this country as a dentist," Molina said. "Although I've enjoyed my career and the opportunities that I've received in this country, my thoughts are never far away from the family and friends I left behind in El Salvador." For the last three years, La Opinion has honored Latinas who perform "above and beyond the regular call of duty" on a professional or voluntary basis. Molina, who left El Salvador at 17 with her two siblings to rejoin her mother in the United States, is a founding member of the Salvadoran American Leadership and Educational Fund (SALEF), a nonprofit, non-partisan organization that works to expand the political and economic contributions of Salvadorans in the U.S. In 2007, Molina was appointed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to serve a 4-year term on the city's Commission for Children, Youth and Their Families. She was one of six Latinas to be named "La Mujer Salvadorena Ahora Award," or woman of the year, by the nonprofit International Association of Salvadoran Women. Others recognitions include "Woman of the Year" by the city of Los Angeles, "Entrepreneur of the Year" by Latina Style magazine, and "Salvadoran of the Year" by SALEF. Molina was appointed house delegate to the California Dental Board, as well as a legislative representative for the California Dental Association. She also serves on the Board of the Los Angeles Dental Society, Latin American Dental Association, Harvard Alumni Association, and the Women's Dental Society. Molina holds a bachelor's degree in Biomedical Sciences from Cal State Long Beach, and a master's degree in Public Health and doctorate of Dental Medicine from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. She also holds a postdoctoral graduate in Endodontics from the UCLA School of Dentistry, where she also serves as an instructor.
********** Published: April 10, 2009 - Volume 7 - Issue 51