CHCI-AHIP Health Graduate Fellow
Hometown: Guymon, OK
School: University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
Degree: Master of Public Health
Placement: Office of Senator Ben Ray Luján
Omar Alejandro Ibarra (He/Him/His) was born in Liberal, Kansas, and raised in Guymon, Oklahoma, by his Mexican parents. He is the son of farmworkers and grandson of Braceros. As most of Omar’s family in the US work in meatpacking plants and labor-intensive jobs, he has been exposed to the difficulties Latinos and undocumented communities face, particularly in the US health system. As a result, he has pushed himself to understand the fragmented US healthcare system and advocate for more equitable care for historically marginalized populations. He recently graduated with a Master of Public Health from the University of North Carolina’s Gillings School of Global Public Health, focusing on health systems and policy.
Prior to CHCI, Omar served as a Policy Fellow with Student Action with Farmworkers in North Carolina, where he tracked legislation affecting farmworkers and immigrant communities. In this role, he also organized grassroots lobbying efforts to push for legislation that improves farmworker health and mandates workforce protections. Previously, Omar also worked as a health policy intern for the United States of Care organization, where he brought his experience as a Latino and public health student in applying an equity lens in health policy. While there, he helped research and write two published works that focused on the inequities underrepresented populations face in the US health system and how the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated them. Omar’s passion for creating a more equitable health system has only grown due to the disparities the pandemic has highlighted. Throughout his academic and professional career, he has ensured his goals and motivations are community-driven and founded in equity-based principles.
As a CHCI-AHIP Health Graduate Fellow, Omar plans to utilize his lived experiences and public health background to advocate for more equitable health care policies for historically marginalized communities by addressing both the social and political determinants of health. His goals within the program are to gain a more in-depth understanding of the legislative process, learn from health policy experts, and establish relationships with local policy leaders.