Diversity & Community Partnerships

Olumuyiwa  Akinrimisi

Hometown: Long Beach, CA

Lack of educational and supportive resources are a common issue in our world, and it continues to help build this issue of inequity. This is why I value the practice of mentoring. This starts with the elementary school teacher that challenged you and pushed you passed your limits; to the high school vice principal that helped rally scholarships to make college a reality. Being a part of the UCSD PRIME-HEq family has really given me the opportunity to help give back to students from disadvantaged communities, and help close that educational gap.


Pallavi Basu

Hometown: Calabasas, CA

PRIME-Heq at UCSD is an opportunity for me to become the physician I have always imagined; with UCSD's rigorous curriculum, students are molded into excellent scientific problem-solvers and with the added benefit of PRIME-Heq, we are encouraged to be culturally competent advocates and leaders in medicine for those who struggle the most for healthcare access. After having seen the many vulnerabilities among a range of underserved populations from teaching in inner city LA to working at a maximum security prison in New York, high quality healthcare proves to be a consistent requirement for transformative change. Aside from being involved in the many health advocacy projects driven by PRIME students, I am continuing to learn that I have the ability to make an impact in every clinical encounter through channeling the spirit of PRIME into a mindset I can incorporate each day into practice.


Kathryn Kianalani Choo Loy



Jennifer Devries

Hometown: Torrance, CA

I chose UCSD PRIME-HEq because I felt that training in the context I hope to practice would provide me with tools for both culturally relevant patient care and structural competency. I came to medical school to pursue harm reduction and work with drug users. After years of doing front-line work with syringe access, overdose prevention, HIV testing and linkage to care, HCV care coordination, and community outreach, I wanted more tools. I want to develop programs for and about drug users, and joining a program with a community - and justice - focus has helped me along that path.


Andrew Enslen



Jacqeline Lee

Hometown: San Diego, CA

I became inspired to pursue a career in medicine during my college and post-undergraduate years when I had the opportunity to work with immigrant communities in a healthcare setting and see individuals encounter numerous barriers to health that resonated with my family’s experiences when acclimating to a new country. Through these experiences, I saw healthcare staff advocating for individuals to get access to the care they needed. The physicians I worked with in particular were involved in patient advocacy at multiple levels, organizing health initiatives, changing health policies, and participating in community-based research in addition to working with patients at an individual level in the exam room. I was moved by their dedication to improving the health of their entire community and felt inspired to try to follow in their footsteps. In order to address health disparities at multiple levels I wanted to pursue medicine but also recognized that medical school would equip me with the skills to care for patients on an individual basis not at the community level. PRIME-HEq was my answer to obtaining a medical degree as well as additional knowledge on community health through a master’s degree. I knew that by joining PRIME I would be surrounded by like-minded individuals who would support me in my endeavors and help me grow into a more conscientious and compassionate community and patient advocate.


Kaley Marcis



Sejal  Patel


Ian Simpson-Shelton

Hometown: Upper Marlboro

Becoming a physician was not something that I thought about until my senior year in college. As a senior, I started working as a medical scribe in a small hospital in southern Maryland. My experience as a scribe allowed me to understand the numerous prior experiences my family and I had growing up in the Washington, D.C. area. I began to understand the influence of socioeconomic status, demographics, and administrative measures that not only dictated medical care, but also dictated representation within the medical field.
When it came to choosing a medical school, one of the biggest deciding factors was the school's involvement in the surrounding underserved community. During my interview at UCSD, the PRIME-Heq cohort/staff shared with me their experiences within the surrounding San Deigo community which helped me gravitate to the program as a prospective student. The decision to attend UCSD as a PRIME-HEq student has been one of the best choices I have made. I have the privilege of being surrounded by some of the brightest and most compassionate young minds in medicine. Our cohort loves to work with the underserved community and having like minded individuals surrounding me has helped make my experience in medical school excellent. Additionally, the support of the cohort and staff has made UCSD SOM a second family.
My career interests in medicine are undecided. However, one of my ultimate goals is to utilize my M.D. as a platform to influence young underrepresented minorities into furthering their education in hopes that they will be the physicians of tomorrow that helped increase diversity in medicine.

Robby Turk

Hometown: Aurora, Colorado

I chose PRIME-HEq because it is one of the few programs available that go beyond the general science education necessary to be a doctor, and instead incorporates the education, training, and support needed to become an informed physician, a leader, and an advocate for those who need it most in medicine. With my background, I have seen and experienced first-hand the disparities that exist for minorities and other underprivileged groups in medicine, education, housing, etc., and I decided that it was not something to be accepted, but something that could and needed to be changed. PRIME-HEq was the perfect outlet and vehicle to work toward that change while in medical school, and provided the support of like-minded peers and mentors who could help guide me to have the impact I wanted. The personal growth and in-depth understanding of my patients and their challenges that I have gained in the PRIME-HEq program have been fundamental on my journey to become (I hope) a competent physician, effective advocate, and impactful leader in healthcare.
In addition to the training at UCSD, the dual-degree requirement ensures that we are well-rounded and have the ability to effect change that goes beyond the 1-on-1 interaction with the patient, which is essential if we are to eventually end health disparities, and was one of the most influential factors when I chose PRIME-HEq. There are so many ways in which we can help those that are underserved, and PRIME-HEq has been the best first-step I could have taken on this journey to do so.



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