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Dr. Rachel Marcus '85

Co-Founder, Latin American Society of Chagas

Rachel is the co-founder of Latin American Society of Chagas (LASOCHA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness of Chagas disease in both the at-risk Latin American immigrant community and health care providers. 

Chagas, also known as the “kissing bug disease”, is common in Latin America and is transmitted by triatomine insects endemic to Latin America. The disease can live in the body for decades without producing any symptoms and could be passed from mother to child. A third of those with Chagas develop heart disease or megacolon, and untreated, they die from what appear to be sudden heart attacks. LASOCHA screens and treats victims for free, including providing free cardiac testing. 

Rachel Marcus graduated from Stanford Medical School in 1994 and worked as an intern and resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston before returning to Stanford for a fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine. Because of her commitment working with underserved communities in the U.S. and abroad, she teamed with Jenny Sanchez and the LASOCHA board to develop the medical program for the non-profit. 

Rachel devotes at least a day a week to seeing patients at the clinic she helped establish in Northern Virginia, but also frequently works nights and weekends to keep the project going. She speaks Spanish and Portuguese.

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