Diversity & Community Partnerships

Nick Aldridge

Master of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health         

Residency: Emergency , Medicine UC San Diego Medical Center

Jacob Bailey

Hometown: Lomita, CA

Masters in Education, UC Los Angeles Division of Higher Education and Organizational Change            

Residency:Medicine-Pediatrics University of Southern California

Joining PRIME-HEq was an easy choice to make.  It provided a flexible curriculum and supportive environment for me to work on my particular interests of Latino health disparities in urban settings.  Since part of my family is from northern Mexico, and with my grandfather still living there, border issues are very important to me.  More recently my focus has shifted to the intersection of education and health as there are significant overlaps in the challenges to accessing both.  Since education is considered one of the most effective tools we have against poverty and disparities, I'm particularly concerned with how we address the inequities within our educational systems.

Sheila Dejbakhsh

Hometown: Irvine, CA

Master of Public Health, Mailman School of PublicHealth, Columbia University

Residency: Obsterics and Gynecology

UC Los Angeles Medical Center

Developing an understanding of health disparities that exist in our society today, and discovering ways to address these disparities are fundamental to the role I wish to place as a future physician.  UCSD PRIME-HEq has already allowed me to do just that; as a 1st year medical student I worked with group of girls in the City Heights neighborhood and assisting them in learning about reproductive health and safe sex practices.  As a second year medical student, I become heavily involved with the UCSD Free Clinic Project as a Manager at the Pacific Beach site.  These are only some the opportunities that are available through PRIME-HEq and UCSD SOM.  Moreover, the faculty support, and friendships that I have made with fellow PRIME leaders have added a whole other layer my experience at the UCSD, and I wouldn't trade for that anything!  Currently I am getting my MPH at Columbia University, and will return next year to finish my 4th year at UCSD.

  Shonte McKenzie

Juliet Siena Okoroh

Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria

Master of Public Health, Harvard School of Public Health   

Residency: General  Surgery UC San Francisco Medical Center 

"Medicaid” and "FDA Regulation of Tobacco Bill", my experience on the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee in the United States Congress made me realize the impact policy-makers had on clinical medicine without necessarily seeing the faces of the population they made policies concerning. They did not see the "Faces of Medicaid" which to me represents a transition from statistical lives to real individuals. In addition, I was disappointed by the paucity of clinicians involved with the decision-making process on healthcare. With these disappointments came my inspiration for change.

PRIME-Heq was a perfect fit for me. I not only had the opportunity to explore the social determinants of health in the classroom; but the opportunity to engage with the community through various site visits to underserved areas in San Diego. Through community partnerships, I continued to inspire high-school students and undergraduates to consider a career in public health leadership and clinical medicine. With the support of PRIME-Heq, I was able to work beyond the United States to South Africa on issues related to HIV transmission and child abuse. PRIME-HEq has not only been instrumental in providing the opportunities and resources but in providing the mentorship which is vital to the success of students like me, a medical student that has an interest in public health.

Lastly, I think the PRIME-Heq additional Masters year is an excellent opportunity for students with academic interest in public health to acquire the skills needed in public health research, design, data analysis and evaluation. The M.P.H. program at Harvard School of Public Health with a concentration in Policy and Management has introduced me to wide variety of topics and challenges. My ultimate goal is to improve the quality care received by marginalized and vulnerable populations through working on policies with ministries of health. I hope to continue to cultivate my interest in bringing the public narrative, quantitative methods, and clinical medicine to solving the complex challenges of health inequities in the United States as well as in resource-poor settings.

Sarah Rojas

Hometown: Rialto, California

Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research, UC San Diego

Residency: Family Medicine Family Health Centers of San Diego

"After nearly six years of working as a clinical researcher in the field of HIV neuromedicine and neuropsychiatry, I matriculated into the UCSD School of Medicine.  I had discovered my love for research at the UCSD HIV Neurobehavioral Research Center unexpectedly, and after deeply bonding with the participants - HIV-positive drug users and grandmothers alike - I knew my future would be incomplete as only a clinician, and that I would one day return as a clinician and researcher to this marginalized population, particularly in the U.S.-Mexican borderlands.  

Needing the training that would make me an efficacious physician leader and researcher, I chose UCSD PRIME-Health Equity.  Not only would I receive customized lecture on the diversity of medicine but I would have the freedom to pursue an appropriate master's degree for my interests.  

The broad ideology of PRIME-HEq encouraged and supported my current pursuit of both a Master's in Clinical Research at UCSD, along with a Fogarty Global Health Fellowship.  My research will describe prevalence and correlates of HIV infection and barriers to HIV testing among patients attending a free clinic in Tijuana, Mexico.  I am now collaborating with the UCSD Global Public Health department on both the research and the expansion of services at the clinic.  "

Inga Wilder

Hometown: Compton, California

Master of Education in Urban Teaching, UC Los Angeles Teachers Education Program

Residency: Family Medicine Ventura County Medical Center

Growing up I believed that my experiences with the health care system were things that were only experienced by people who lived “on my block.”  I soon learned that this was not the case.  I learned that health disparities are not just seen in neighborhoods where people look like me, but they have deep roots in other ethnically diverse communities.  In the future I want to be a physician who aids and understands patients from all backgrounds and cultures.  I want to understand the complex social issues and injustices that my patients face on a daily basis.  I chose PRIME-HEq because I believed the program would allow me to learn more about the struggles and needs of diverse groups of people across California.

Anne Zepeda

Hometown: Los Angeles, CA

Master of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research, UC San Diego

Residency:Pediatrics Univeristy of Southern California Medical Center

I grew up in South Central Los Angeles and spent most of my free time accompanying my grandmother to her doctor appointments. During those days, I was able to serve as an interpreter, but did note that even in an area heavily populated with Spanish-speaking patients, translators were not readily available. I started volunteering with the Nurse Practitioner who served as my grandmother's healthcare provider, and she was the one who really encouraged me to pursue my goal of becoming a physician--she revealed that if she could have taken a different career route, she would have preferred being a physician as well. Prior to applying to medical school, I had already planned on working in an underserved area so UCSD PRIME-HEq was a great fit. The flexibility of the program and support with the different volunteer efforts that each student in the program contributes made the program attractive.


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