For Morales, the desire to become a plastic surgeon was inspired by his unique upbringing, growing up in a home with a mother who was a nurse and his father, who worked as a medical sculptor for 40 years at the esteemed Shriners Burn Institute in Galveston. As one of the nation’s few experts in this field, his father created customized silicone replacements for noses, ears, and other anatomical parts—designed to blend seamlessly and naturally with the body—for individuals disfigured by burn injuries and cancer.
Dr. Morales credits his mother for instilling within him a compassion for helping others, an ambition to strive for excellence in every pursuit, and the determination to persevere. As one of six children and an immigrant to the United States, she overcame a challenging upbringing to eventually obtain a college PhD and become an accomplished and beloved nurse practitioner in her community.
As a young man, Dr. Morales had the privelege of assisting his father at work, fashioning silicone ears for young burn victims. This gave him the opportunity to work with plastic surgeons who–recognizing his talent, sharp mind, and skillful ability to work with patients–encouraged him to consider pursuing a career in their medical specialty. Because of his strong academic achievement, research experience, and volunteer activity, Dr. Morales was honored to be selected from among the nation’s top medical student applicants for a position in a highly-competitive six-year plastic and reconstructive surgery residency program. In addition to thoroughly equipping him to perform all of the complex operative techniques of this profession, the vast and intensive surgical education and training he received provided him with the skill and experience to minimize and manage any potential complications in order to achieve a successful outcome.