Dr. Helen Rodriguez-Trias grew up in Puerto Rico and New York City where she attended public schools through High School. After marriage and the births of three children, she continued higher studies at the University of Puerto Rico and its Medical School, graduating with the highest honors in 1960. Following attainment of the MD and the birth of a fourth child, she went on to Internship and Pediatric Residency at the University Hospital.

Dr. Rodriguez-Trias remained on the Medical School faculty in Puerto Rico and at the University Hospital, developing the first center for care of newborn babies on the island. Under her leadership, and with the collaboration of the Maternal Infant Care Regional Program staff, the Hospital's rate for deaths of newborn babies decreased by half within three years.

A growing interest in the social and economic circumstances affecting children's health led her away from sophisticated neonatal clinical research to ambulatory care and advocacy for women's and children's rights. Soon after her arrival in New York City in 1970, she joined a large group of advocates for women's reproductive rights and became a founding member of the Committee to End Sterilization Abuse. The demonstration of the need for appropriate informed consent led the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation to enact guidelines on sterilization procedures and the New York City Council to pass a law to protect against abuses. She remains a firm advocate for women's right to choices.

Dr. Rodriguez-Trias has directed Pediatric programs: Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx (Director of the Department of Pediatrics); St.-Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital Center in Manhattan (Director, Division of Primary Care) and at the Newark Beth Israel Medical Center in New Jersey (Director of Pediatric Primary Care Program). It was in Newark in 1985, that the discovery of children with AIDS in the walk-in and primary care clinics convinced her that the prevention and management of HIV infection must be on every health care person's agenda.

During her tenure as Medical Director at the AIDS Institute in New York State in 1988 and 1989, Dr. Rodriguez-Trias participated in developing programs and policies directed at serving the needs of families affected by HIV, particularly those comprised of women and their children.

Dr. Rodriguez-Trias has taught in medical schools as Assistant Professor in Pediatrics at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine, as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In her teaching, Dr. Rodriguez-Trias incorporates the principles of professional activism into the curriculum for students and residents on subjects ranging from child abuse to AIDS. She stresses the need to learn cross cultural skills and to respect and celebrate diversity.

Over the past twenty years she has served as consultant to numerous foundations and government agencies. She publishes and lectures extensively on women's and children's health and health care issues. In 1989 Dr. Rodriguez-Trias relocated to California from where she consults on health programming specially in primary care and on community based services for women and children.

In 1991, the Governing Council of the American Public Health Association elected her the Association's President Elect. She felt honored to serve as President of APHA for the year of 1993, and on its Executive Committee and Executive Board as Immediate Past President for an additional year. In 1994 she was named Chair of the American Public Health Association's Standing Committee on Women's Rights.

Currently Dr. Rodriguez-Trias serves on the Boards of several national organizations, among them: Community Anti Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA); the Reproductive Health Technologies Project; the Society of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health; Education, Training and Research Associates (ETR); Opening Doors and Fight Back Drug Abuse Prevention Project (funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation). She is also involved in promoting health policies in California as a member of the Women's Health Council of the State's Office of Women's Health and of the Policy Committee of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California.

In her current position as Co-Director with Francine Coeyteaux of the Pacific Institute for Women's Health, Dr. Rodriguez-Trias participates in advocacy, applied research and policy development toward bettering women's lives.

Dr. Rodriguez-Trias lives with her husband, Edward Gonzalez, Jr., a career consultant and adult educator, in Brookdale, a village near Santa Cruz, California. She has two daughters who live in San Francisco, one son in Puerto Rico and another in Los Angeles. Seven grandchildren bring her great joy, as they do to their parents and to her husband.