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Maria Isabel Rangel

CHCI-DaVita Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Firebaugh, California
School: University of California, Berkeley
Degree: M.P.H., concentration on Health and Social Behavior
Placement: Congressional Hispanic Caucus

Isabel was born and raised in a rural agricultural community in Mexico and emigrated to Firebaugh, California, a predominantly farmworker community in California’s Central Valley. As an immigrant raised in a farmworker family, she experienced first-hand how the health of Latino communities is impacted by complex health, environmental, social, and economic issues. During her undergraduate education, she began to put names to these issues and became interested in pursuing a career in public health to help prevent such injustices. She is passionate about improving the health and well-being of communities through a social justice and equity perspective.

After completing her Bachelor of Arts at the University of California, Los Angeles, she collaborated with a multi-disciplinary research team at the University of California, Davis to plan and implement a project focused on the prevention of childhood obesity among Mexican-American children in her hometown. She worked alongside community leaders and researchers to use a community-based participatory research model to promote sustainable changes to build communities.

Throughout her graduate career, she worked to address the social determinants of health through her work with the California Office of Health Equity, where she helped assess how race and health are considered when creating policies. Continuing to focus on evaluating policy, systems, and environmental changes, Isabel has also worked with the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) to evaluate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) programs for the State of California in order to inform proposed policy changes.

As a CHCI Graduate Fellow, Isabel looks forward to learning more about the legislative process to understand how to enact effective and sustainable policies that improve the health and well-being of underrepresented communities. She wants to learn how to better support equitable and sustainable policies that address the complex health issues faced by the Latino community and other historically marginalized communities.