Marty Valiant began her medical career as a pediatric nurse working in a hospital in Miami. Encouraged by a pediatric doctor she worked with, Valiant enrolled at Duke University where she completed medical school and earned board certification in pediatric medicine and a master’s degree in public health.
After a brief stint as the director of Migrant Health Services in Palm Beach County, Valiant landed in Clewiston as the only practicing pediatric doctor. She later became the county public health officer for Hendry and Glades counties. In her 30 years of serving rural Hendry and Glades counties, she handled contaminated water supplies; managed out breaks of communicable diseases; confined an active case of tuberculosis; immunized patients at child care centers, labor camps and farm worker packing houses; educated two counties about HIV/AIDS; provided OB-GYN care for women and teenage girls with no hospital or clinical resources; and worked with law enforcement to offer protection and care for victims of rape and violence.
With all of the challenges she faced, she is quick to say that “the most challenging thing over and over was being faced with a really needy child who needed immediate surgery and to be blocked from helping because of no money. That continues to be a problem that exists to this very day.”
She defines success with the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson, “to know even one life has breathed easier because you lived.”