For the media

A mother-daughter surgical technologist duo

By The Health News Team | May 10, 2024
Marylou Chavarin and Marissa Gonzales of San Diego at Sharp Memorial Hospital

Mother-daughter duo Marylou Chavarin and Marissa Gonzales work together at Sharp Memorial’s James S. Brown Pavilion.

A few decades ago, on Mexican Mother’s Day, Marylou Chavarin gave birth to Marissa Gonzales at Sharp Mary Birch Hospital for Women & Newborns. Now, they both work at Sharp Memorial Hospital's James S. Brown Pavilion.

At first glance, you may not notice the two women are related, especially if they’re wearing masks. But upon a closer look, you’ll realize Gonzales resembles her mother, who happens to be a fellow surgical technologist.

Chavarin has worked at Sharp Rees Stealy and Sharp Memorial Hospital's James S. Brown Pavilion for many years. She now works as a surgical technologist for the eye team at the pavilion, where Gonzales serves in the same role. Chavarin and Gonzales handle surgical supplies and equipment, prep surgical instruments and help keep the operating room sterile.

“I never knew I’d work alongside Marissa one day,” says Chavarin. “I’m immensely proud to see how much she’s grown.”

Like mother, like daughter

The mother-and-daughter duo maintain a professional relationship at work. Still, due to their striking resemblance, some of their colleagues discovered they’re related.

“It’s special when my mom and I get to work together because I don’t work solely on ophthalmology cases,” says Gonzales. “I assist in all specialties at James S. Brown Pavilion, and I'm on the robotics team.”

Recently, the duo served together as surgery technologists for Dr. Tommy Korn, a Sharp Rees-Stealy ophthalmologist affiliated with Sharp Memorial. Chavarin and Gonzales say they enjoy working with him, as they appreciate his close attention to patient and staff safety as well as his value of mutual respect.

“Marylou and Marissa are amazing,” says Dr. Korn. “They recently helped deliver a five-star Sharp Experience for our cataract eye surgery patients.”

Providing loving inspiration, support and friendship

Gonzales credits her mom for inspiring her to become a certified surgical technologist. “I was always interested in working in health care,” she says. “But when I was young, I didn’t know exactly what I’d do in the field. Growing up, I saw my mom enjoying working at the ophthalmology department and I thought the job sounded interesting.”

Gonzales worked for several years as a technologist in Los Angeles. Later, she moved to San Diego and coincidentally, ended up working at Sharp alongside her mother.

Outside of work, Chavarin and Gonzales enjoy spending time together, having dinners and taking trips. Gonzales particularly enjoys traveling to Europe.

“Not everyone can say that they work with their relatives at a well-known, reputable health care organization like Sharp,” says Gonzales. “I am so proud of my mom and grateful to be her daughter.”

Learn more about outpatient surgery at James S. Brown Pavilion Center; get the latest health and wellness news, trends and patient stories from Sharp Health News; and subscribe to our weekly newsletter by clicking the "Sign up" link below.

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