I grew up in Pico-Union, a predominantly low-income Latino neighborhood. There, I witnessed my community and family members struggle to navigate the healthcare system due to language, cultural, and economic barriers. Experiencing health inequities first-hand has allowed me to understand the intersectionality of socioeconomics and race in healthcare and has motivated me to pursue a career in medicine. My goal is to become a family physician and research health issues affecting underprivileged communities.
I have experienced a lot of barriers throughout my educational career. However, LA’s BEST helped me successfully navigate the educational system. When I was in elementary school, my parents worked long shifts and were often unable to pick me up early from school. LA’s BEST provided a safe space for me. I was able to do my homework, ask people for help when I didn’t understand math problems, talk to my friends, and do arts and crafts! I also explored different activities and stayed physically active throughout my childhood by playing handball, soccer, and joining the drill team.
Thanks to LA’s BEST, I had mentors and people I could talk to about educational levels my parents never reached. When I communicated my interest in becoming a physician to LA’s BEST staff members, they were all supportive of my dreams. They talked to me about higher education and motivated me to pursue a career in medicine.
The staff at LA’s BEST had such a profound impact on me that I have now become involved and volunteer in afterschool organizations in Los Angeles as well. I have experienced firsthand the difference that LA’s BEST makes in the lives of their students. I am really grateful for the mentorship I received and the impact that LA’s BEST has had on my life and the rest of the Los Angeles community.