COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The office of the county coroner is an intense, meticulous, and often thankless job.
For Franklin County Coroner Dr. Anahi Ortiz, originally from the projects in the Bronx, New York, Columbus is where her heart is–and a place where she has made a name for herself.
Ortiz is a name and face that many in Franklin County know, but what they don’t know is how her journey to success wasn’t the easiest.
“We were extremely poor,” she said of her upbringing.
She says growing up, her mom and dad moved from Argentina to the United States. In Argentina, her parents were well-off, but moving to New York changed that for her parents.
“I probably had some of the worst medical care,” Ortiz said.
Those experiences are why her mother pushed Ortiz and her siblings to do better.
“She kept saying, ‘You don’t want to live here, you want a little house, you want children. You’ve got to get out of here,’” Ortiz said.
She listened. A college degree and then a doctorate, but education didn’t end the struggle, not for a woman of color in the medical field. Ortiz said she would be wearing her uniform and stethoscope and others would label her as a nurse, and the nurse would get a doctor.
It took time to be valued and seen as an equal. Now, Ortiz is hoping to inspire other young girls, whether that’s for them to be the next Franklin County Coroner or any other career.
“Don’t assume that every Hispanic is uneducated or wants to be uneducated,” she said. “It’s just the circumstances in life and if they can be helped to reach higher, we should be there to help them.”