CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Las Vegas, Nevada
School: University of Southern California
Degree: Master of Public Health and Master of Social Work
Placement 1: The Office of Senator Catherine Cortez Masto
Placement 2: Office of Partnerships & Public Engagement, U.S. Department of Agriculture
Policy Briefing: An Inside Look: Poor Nutritional Health in Migrant Detention Facilities
Davíd was born in Los Angeles, California and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is the son of immigrant parents from Guatemala and Mexico. He is also the first in his family to attend college, which included earning an associate degree from Lassen Community College, a bachelor’s degree in social work from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and both a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health from the University of Southern California (USC). His experience navigating through adversity led him to be a strong advocate for health equity, gender equality, and representation among minorities. He is also interested in addressing social issues that affect people of color the most, such as homelessness, poverty, education, health, and immigration.
At UNLV, he gained experience at non-profit and for-profit organizations that addressed the gap in Latino access to mental health care in the Las Vegas Valley. Davíd has also worked for early childhood division of the Las Vegas’ Clark County School District that oversaw and provided resources for children with special needs. As master’s student at USC, Davíd was fortunate to work as a research assistant designing training presentations for community health workers on colorectal cancer awareness. While at USC, he also gained experience as a case manager, overseeing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, and as a medical social worker, ensuring the care of pediatric patients and working with an interdisciplinary team to ensure effective treatment plans. Furthermore, he worked as a school social worker in low-income communities and was responsible for individual counseling to elementary and middle school students. At USC, Davíd lead a student organization that focused on Central American and immigrant issues, organizing hundreds of USC students who marched in protest of ending Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration protections. He has also been a prolific advocate for additional immigration rights programs and successfully fundraised for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Davíd is involved with mentoring and supporting youth through his work with nonprofits, personal experiences, and in a professional capacity.
As a CHCI Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow, he aims to use his knowledge and personal experience to find effective approaches and new policies that can benefit communities of color. Davíd is passionate about building healthy communities and creating equitable policies that support the well-being of underserved and underrepresented communities. After the fellowship, Davíd hopes to acquire more leadership skills and gain opportunities in public service and public policy so that one day he can run for office, with the goal to ensure equitable representation for people of color.