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CHCI-Bristol Myers Squibb Graduate Fellow

Hometown: Gainesville, Georgia
School: George Washington University
Degree: Master of Public Health in Health Policy
Placement One: The Office of Senator Michael Bennet
Placement Two: Bristol Myers Squibb

Indira Ghandi Islas (she/her) was born in Guerrero, Mexico, and has lived in Gainesville, Georgia, since coming to the U.S. at the age of 6. Due to the rise in violence, Indira’s parents decided to leave everything behind to give their three daughters a better and safer future. Her parents’ sacrifices became an inspiration for Indira, and this drove her to excel in school.

At the age of 16, Indira became a DACA recipient, and because of this program, after graduating high school, she earned a scholarship for DACA recipients, TheDream.US, to attend college. In the spring of 2020, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in biology from Delaware State University. During her time at DSU, she was a research assistant and was involved in a cancer research lab. In her sophomore year, Indira co-founded Dreamers for a Bipartisan Solution, an organization that was devoted to advancing conversations with members of Congress
on permanent bipartisan legislation for DACA beneficiaries. Additionally, due to the barriers that come with obtaining higher education for DACAmented/undocumented individuals, during her time in college, Indira became devoted to mentoring Latino students through her role as a College Access Coordinator for TeenSHARP, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to helping high-achieving low-income high school students navigate the college application process.

After college, Indira then went on to pursue a Master of Public Health in Health Policy and is a 2022 graduate from the Milken Institute School of Public Health. While in graduate school, she did quantitative research and led a project that examined the representation of Latinos in the health workforce. Additionally, Indira worked as a health policy intern for Nemours Children’s Health, where she drafted brief policy documents, issue briefs, letters to Congress, regulatory comments, and other materials for meetings on Capitol Hill.

As a CHCI-Bristol Myers Squibb Graduate Fellow, Indira hopes to strengthen her knowledge and passion for health policy and further develop her leadership skills. More specifically, Indira hopes to learn more about the social determinants of health impacting Latinos and their challenges in accessing healthcare.