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CHCI-Bristol-Myers Squibb Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: San Bernardino, California
School: Yale School of Public Health
Degree: M.P.H. in Epidemiology of Microbial Diseases
Placement 1: The Office of Representative Rosa DeLauro
Placement 2: Bristol-Myers Squibb

Policy Briefing: Harm Reduction Programs to Address Infectious Disease Challenges Among Marginalized Communities that Inject Drugs

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Emmanuel was born and raised in San Bernardino, California. Growing up in a community affected by poverty, violence, and poor health outcomes made Emmanuel feel disillusioned and motivated him to leave. However, his Mexican immigrant parents instilled in him a passion to improve his city through community service.

After attending California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB), Emmanuel decided to develop a robust set of skills and seek experiences that would equip him to help his San Bernardino community address health disparities, and has sought out such opportunities within his community and beyond.  For example, through volunteering as an interpreter for Spanish monolingual community members at local clinics and health fairs, Emmanuel realized that he wanted to focus his work on infectious diseases since they affected the most marginalized groups in his community, including people engaged in sex work. This interest led Emmanuel to pursue a Master of Public Health with a focus on the epidemiology of microbial diseases from the Yale School of Public Health.

Outside of San Bernardino, Emmanuel has had the opportunity to work in other urban settings, all of which included unique challenges and lessons. As a graduate student, Emmanuel learned about harm-reduction while working on an evaluation project in Hartford, Connecticut. As a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-sponsored James A. Ferguson Emerging Infectious Diseases Fellow at Johns Hopkins University, Emmanuel worked in mobile clinics throughout Baltimore, Maryland and learned about increasing access to HIV testing for underserved communities. Finally, he learned how public health research impacts policy while serving as a research associate at an NYC community-based HIV organization.

As a CHCI Health Graduate Fellow, Emmanuel hopes to learn how to impact policy so that he can empower his future patients. He wants to better understand how community members can use their voice to work with public servants. Additionally, he wants to work with legislators who are working hard to improve the health of the country. Emmanuel is currently applying to medical school and hopes to one day use his public health and policy experiences to advocate for his future patients.