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Monserrat Baeza – August 2014 Scholar of the Month

CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar Intern

Hometown: Firebaugh, California

Degree: B.A., Forensic Science (Concentration in Chemistry)

School: San Jose State University

Placement: RotaCare Bay Area, San Jose, California

I grew up in Firebaugh, California a small rural town in the central valley. I was raised in a single-parent household where my mother took care of my three older sisters and me through graveyard shifts and migrant work. Thanks to my mother’s example, I was able to grow as a strong, successful and hardworking woman.

Being the first of my family to pursue higher education has been my greatest accomplishment and challenge to date. Pursuing a career in health has always been my dream, as I have been affected by and witnessed many of the issues underrepresented communities face. The lack of adequate care, absence of compassion, socioeconomic and language barriers is what inspires me to make a difference one day as a physician. I truly believe that everyone deserves access to healthcare, and I hope it can one day run like a community, not a business.

I have been a part of the Health Careers Opportunities Program (HCOP) and the Summer Medical and Dental Program (SMDEP) at University of California, Los Angeles. I am also a recipient of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) scholarship that provided an all-expenses paid trip to Washington D.C. for the annual National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) conference. I met representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and heard them speak on many of the issues that plague the Latino community. It was an absolutely amazing experience, and was the last step in convincing me that a career in public health was one that I wanted to pursue.

Being chosen as a CHCI-United Health Foundation Scholar Intern is a testament to the hard work I have put into striving towards a brighter future for myself and the communities I hope to serve. My internship placement at a local non-profit clinic, RotaCare Bay Area, has allowed me to impact my community and make a difference in the lives of those around me. My devotion to RotaCare’s mission and its patients fuels my passion even further. Thanks to this new opportunity provided by CHCI, I look forward to what the future holds in store.