After completing my Pediatric Residency training in Boston, Massachusetts, I returned to Puerto Rico in 1982 to establish a community-based practice in Coamo, a rural town in the southern part of the island. At the same time, I started my academic career at the Ponce School of Medicine through the teaching and clinical supervision of students and residents in my clinical practice and the medical school campus. I am now Professor of Pediatrics of the Ponce Health Sciences University (PHSU) having enjoyed a distinguished career of more than 30 years as a clinician, educator, academic administrator and researcher at the School of Medicine and its principal clinical affiliate, Saint Luke’s Episcopal Hospital (SLEH) in Ponce. At the PHSU, my work as a teacher and my dedication to medical education were recognized through key leadership positions in the university: Director of Medical Education (1995), Chair of the Department of Pediatrics (1997) and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs (2000). I joined SLEH medical staff in 2003, where I led resident training efforts as Director of the Pediatric Residency Program (2003) and Director of Graduate Medical Education (2011). As an academic general pediatrician, I have cared for 2 generations of pediatric patients in Coamo and in the pediatric wards of the SLEH in Ponce. My clinical practice from 1982 through 2011 followed principles of the medical home with emphasis on prevention and the provision of comprehensive and coordinated care to children with special needs. My commitment to pediatrics and public health is evidenced through active participation in many child health initiatives at the state and national levels, such as the advancement of the pediatric medical home, developmental screening in pediatric practices and the prevention of prematurity. This interest in population health became my main motivation when the opportunity to expand my academic career to research presented in 2012. Through a CDC cooperative agreement grant and the dedication and hard work of a talented group of public health staff members, university, and hospital collaborators; we have implemented the first Sentinel Enhanced Dengue Surveillance System (SEDSS) in Puerto Rico. SEDSS is now a 6-year-old research platform dedicated to the study of clinical manifestations, prevention, and outcomes of dengue and other acute febrile illnesses (AFI) endemic to our island and of global importance. We have developed more than 10 nested studies and collaborations, and published important scholarly products. As Principal Investigator I have strengthened the collaboration between the PHSU School of Medicine and Public Health Program and the SLEH in the implementation of research, and have sparked the interest and developed the skills in research of public health and medical students, and residents and faculty of residency programs, which is research capacity building for the future of the island. My partnership with Dr. Vanessa Rivera Amill from the PHSU Biomedical Sciences Program since 2015 has added extraordinary value and depth to the research program. Under my leadership, SEDSS captured the 2016-17 Zika epidemic that has made possible the study of the spectrum of consequences of Zika in the pediatric population. This is for me a return to my pediatric career’s advocacy beginnings on behalf of the health and well-being of children. The experiences and accomplishments described have prepared me to assume an important role in arboviral diseases research in Puerto Rico.