Jill Cuestas, 30 years

Assistant Program Director

Emergency Medicine

Jill Cuestas

Tell us a little about the work you’ve done at Emory throughout your career.

I was 24 when I started as a front desk scheduler for General Medicine, Vascular Surgery, and Urology. I thought, I'll work here for a year, then transfer closer to my home which was over 30 miles away. I had just moved from New York City and this was my first job outside my previous career as a professional dancer and performing artist. Over the next 25 years, I moved from department to department, from Emory Healthcare to the University, until I found myself in Emergency Medicine, scheduling over 175 physicians at 4 locations (Grady, Emory Main, Emory Midtown and Johns Creek). I have had the opportunity to meet and work with some of the most interesting and successfully renowned physicians from Dr. J. Willis Hurst in Cardiology, Dr. Carlos del Rio and Dr. Kenneth Walker in Internal Medicine, and the late Drs. Leon Haley and Douglas Lowery-North. They each have had a profound influence on my life, and I am grateful to have worked for them. 

What are some of your favorite memories of your time at Emory?

My favorite time at Emory was the 10 years as the Internal Medicine Residency Program Coordinator. Annually, we screened over 3000 applications, interviewed over 400 applicants and orientated 90+ residents. The residents were full of optimism and were super grateful to be chosen by Emory. My co-workers during that time were so fun and encouraging. We were an effective and well-oiled machine. We really were a family and it enabled us to get the monumental task of matching 100% of each resident track with our top choices. 

What are some of the most significant changes you have witnessed over the course of your career?

Departmental growth! More staff, more physicians, more residents, more students! What made my positions increasing tolerable in the growth was my ability to work remotely. I've been over 90% remote since 2009. It has greatly improved my morale and the ability to get my job responsibilities done with little distractions. I worked through "Snow Jam/Blizzard" 2011 and “Snowmageddon" in 2014, reorganizing and deploying staff based on who could "walk" to Emory’s Emergency Departments. When everyone was transitioning to remote work during COVID, I was already reworking schedules to ramp up areas needing more staff while reducing those areas closed. 

Jill Cuestas

This picture is from when I started in 1993!

Is there anything you miss from “back in the day”?

Overall gratitude! I miss everyone having an attitude of gratitude! 

What do you hope for the future of Emory?

To still be a thriving Healthcare system 30 years from now, providing meaningful employment and not only curing, but preventing diseases. 

Anything else you would like to share?

Overall, working for Emory has allowed me to have an amazing family life and has provided benefits that will far outlast the 30 years I've been here. Thank you, Emory!