Viviana Martinez-Bianchi headshot

Viviana Martinez-Bianchi

At the height of the pandemic, Dr. Viviana Martinez-Bianchi was laser-focused on Latinos, a demographic she knew would have a disproportionate struggle with the deadly virus.

A family physician at Duke, Martinez-Bianchi was a founder of the Latinx Advocacy Team & Interdisciplinary Network for COVID-19, or LATIN-19. The group was established in March 2020 to address inequities in

the COVID-19 pandemic response, the health system in general and communities in Central North Carolina.

She became an outspoken advocate for equity in all things related to COVID-19 planning, treatment and education. She spoke to media – in English and Spanish – about the needs and challenges specific to the Latino community, lobbying for education and resources.

When vaccines became available, she was a vocal proponent for it in the Latino community, attempting to combat vaccine hesitance by disseminating trustworthy information.

By the end of 2021, Martinez-Bianchi was named the North Carolina Family Physician of the Year by the North Carolina Academy of Family Physicians, an acknowledgement of her hard work. Among those supporting her for the award was Mandy Cohen, who at the time led the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

In nominating Martinez-Bianchi, Cohen wrote in part: “At the peak of the pandemic, almost half of positive COVID-19 cases in North Carolina were among Latino residents, despite representing less than 10% of the population. Turning this trend around was not easy and would not have been possible without the leadership and partnership of LATIN-19, founded by Dr. Martinez-Bianchi.”

A native of Argentina, Martinez-Bianchi joined the Duke faculty in 2006. She is currently Director for Health Equity in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. She was elected President-Elect of the World Organization of Family Doctors and appointed to the US President’s Council on Food Fitness and Nutrition in 2023.