Jose Quiroga, MD
Dr. Jose Quiroga is a cardiologist and co-founder and director of medical services at the Program for Torture Victims (PTV). He serves on the board of PSR National and PSR-LA. He also serves as a vice-president of the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT).
Dr. Quiroga worked as a personal physician to a Chilean president, Salvador Allende, before fleeing Chile after the coup d’état in 1973. On September 11, 1973, CIA-backed Chilean military army, led by General Augusto Pinochet, launched a coup against the democratically elected Unidad Popular Government of Salvador Allende. A team of doctors including José Quiroga and a few officials were the only ones to stay with the president at the palace La Moneda. Dr. Quiroga left Chile with his family in 1977 after increasing harassment and threats under the Pinochet regime, and secured a position at UCLA as an associate researcher in public health. He soon began working in close collaboration with a refugee from Argentina, psychologist Ana Deutsch. Together, they co-founded the Program for Torture Victim (PTV) in 1980, and Dr. Quiroga established a medical arm of the program at Venice Family Clinic.
Dr. Quiroga says his previous experiences have exposed him to human rights issues and that “It is not enough to be a practicing physician for money.” Dr. Quiroga urges doctors to get involved in the community and politics of one’s country to impact and to make change in the society. In 2008, his leadership was instrumental in helping PSR-LA successfully pass state legislation condemning medical professionals who participate in torture.