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Cecilia Ramirez, PepsiCo Foundation Health Public Policy Fellow
Hometown: Bellflower, California
School: Loyola Marymount University
Degree: B.S. Biochemistry

Placement 1: Office of Representative Nanette Barragan
Placement 2: American Hospital Association

Cecilia Ramirez is the product of Mexican and Guatemalan immigrants and was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She is driven by her parents’ sacrifices, with her father working as a landscaper daily under the hot sun and her mother, as a homemaker, raising her and her five siblings. No matter the obstacles Cecilia’s family encountered, her parents prioritized that she and her five siblings receive a private school education from elementary school to college. She graduated from Loyola Marymount University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s in Biochemistry.

While in undergrad, Cecilia began volunteering at the Venice Family Clinic, a community health center, where she cared for underserved, uninsured, and homeless patients. Connecting with this patient community reminded her of the access, language, and cultural barriers her uninsured mother encountered. As a Clinical Assistant and Spanish Translator at VFC, Cecilia gathered each patient’s medical and social history and noticed a disheartening prevalence of preventable chronic diseases. Seeing this trend continue as a Scribe at Saint Francis Medical Center Emergency Room in Lynwood, California, and while engaging in community-based participatory research in Watts and Wilmington, motivated her further to engage in fighting for health care access for all.

Cecilia heard several stories from patients, especially those who are undocumented, regarding the difficulty in affording and accessing health care services because of a lack of insurance or prohibitive costs. She joined the California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA), conducting several visits to California’s state capitol in Sacramento to march, rally, and lobby for comprehensive, high-quality, and affordable health care for all Californians, regardless of legal status.

In the future, Cecilia wants to be a primary care physician activist. As a CHCI Public Policy Fellow, she looks forward to learning more about the legislative process for passing health policies and further developing her advocacy and leadership skills. Cecilia knows that this fellowship experience will help hone her skill sets stand with her future patients and courageously fight towards a more just world where health is a human right and not a privilege.