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CHCI Graduate Fellows’ 2021 Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series

March 17, 2021 - March 25, 2021

CHCI Is Proud To Invite You To Our 2021 Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series!

Join us for public policy round-table discussions comprised of Members of Congress, congressional staffers, public policy experts, and national leaders, tackling some of the most pertinent issues affecting the Latino community. Each panel is organized and moderated by CHCI Graduate Fellows.

The 2021 CHCI Capitol Hill Policy Briefing Series is the culmination of CHCI’s premier, nine-month Graduate Fellowship Program, which offers exceptional Latinos unparalleled exposure to hands-on experience in public policy. This unique fellowship program seeks to enhance participants’ leadership abilities, strengthen professional skills, and increase the presence of Latinos in public policy areas.

DAY ONE: Health Track

12:00 PM – 5:15 PM



For more information on the sessions, select the + symbol in the dropdown menu below.

Fabian Lucero, CHCI-PepsiCo Foundation Nutritional Health Graduate Fellow

In 2018, 37 million Americans were food insecure. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is expected to increase that number to 52 million Americans, increasing existing disparities based on race and ethnicity, age, income, and disability. Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 are particularly at risk for food insecurity due to limited budgets, the cost of medical care, and transportation and mobility issues while requiring nutritional food to maintain a healthy lifestyle and mitigate chronic disease. This panel will discuss how the federal government can bolster food security for Medicare beneficiaries over the age of 65 by increasing enrollment in SNAP and other existing programs that they are already entitled to while expanding other proven pilot programs and services.

Devon Lara, CHCI-Bristol Myers Squibb Health Graduate Fellow

Clinical trials are critical components in healthcare and improve the lives of millions. Despite federal regulatory policies, clinical trials continue to lack representation of ethnic and racial minority populations. Diverse and representative clinical trials are needed to ensure overall better health outcomes. Without diversity, knowledge gained from research is less applicable to certain populations and results in complications after drug approval. With today’s shift towards precision medicine and understanding the needs of different approaches for different populations in achieving healthier lives, inclusion and diversity in clinical trials is imperative. Clinical trials advance medicine, and everyone needs to be part of the advancement. This conversation will explore the barriers in recruiting diverse participants, how this issue translates to the current COVID-19 pandemic clinical trials, and efforts to address this issue.

Isrrael Garcia, CHCI-DaVita Health Graduate Fellow

Medical-legal partnerships (MLPs) integrate lawyers and legal service providers’ unique expertise into health care settings to help clinicians, case managers, and social workers address structural problems at the root of many health inequities. Funding of MLPs is not universal – sources may be private donors, grassroots organizations, or some governmental agencies – which may impact who can receive assistance from an MLP. MLP’s establish partnerships with health care organizations to identify legal barriers that could impact the health of individuals. This panel will address the lack of consistent and accessible legal assistance within health organizations to reduce this barrier and address the complicated relationship between the medical and legal fields.


12:00 PM – 3:15 PM



For more information on the sessions, select the + symbol in the dropdown menu below.

Selene Ceja, CHCI-Facebook Graduate Fellow

Spanish language media outlets including social media, newspapers, TV and radio experienced an influx of misinformation that amplified fake news in the Latinx community during the 2020 elections. How did Spanish language mis/disinformation develop and what can policymakers and key stakeholders do to create inclusive public policies to address disinformation in communities of color? Join the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, disinformation researchers, industry leaders and policymakers in a pivotal conversation to address Spanish language misinformation, the implications of disinformation in general for the Latinx community and solutions to address this distortion of information beyond 2020.

Sidney Betancourt, CHCI-Wells Fargo Housing Graduate Fellow

Low-income families in Las Vegas, Nevada are living through the consequences of an unstable housing market. On any given night in Las Vegas, 342 individuals in families are experiencing homelessness. In Southern Nevada, there are several causes for homelessness, including unemployment, substance abuse, mental health concerns, eviction, and health concerns. Public and private entities intensify these causes by creating barriers for families seeking housing security, even more so now with the COVID-19 pandemic. The quick onset of the pandemic has made it harder for families to prepare for the consequences of a lost job or a reduction in pay. Each level of government can play a role in addressing these systemic barriers. This panel will discuss recommendations from leaders in Las Vegas including increasing federal assistance, creating non-congregate shelters, and conducting further research.


12:00 PM – 3:15 PM



For more information on the sessions, select the + symbol in the dropdown menu below.

Marina Sangit, CHCI-Child Welfare Graduate Fellow

To protect one of its most vulnerable populations, Latino children, California must pass a culturally competent and comprehensive prevention education policy. 15.5 million children live in households where they are exposed to domestic violence in the United States. Research shows that children exposed to domestic violence suffer worse physical, mental, and behavioral outcomes. For Latino children, these impacts are worsened by disparities in health, poverty, structural racism, and familism. Despite representing over 4 million Californians and 48% of the total population, Latino children in California are not centered in domestic violence prevention policy. Standard methods of prevention are not effective in mitigating the impacts of childhood exposure to domestic violence and must shift to more reliable methods. The panel will explore the neurobiological impacts of trauma on children, familism, how Latino families and children are impacted by domestic violence, and what gaps exist in California domestic violence prevention policy and potential paths forward.

Jessica Pedroza, CHCI-Walton Family Foundation Education Graduate Fellow

School resource officers (SROs) have recently become a focus in the national conversation regarding racial justice and policing, although youth leaders have long led the way in calling for police-free schools across the country. Evidence shows that the presence of SROs in schools contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline and has a disproportionately negative effect on students of color. At the same time, there is a lack of school-based mental health providers who can provide students with social-emotional support. As a result, too many students go to school with a school resource officer but not a counselor or other mental health professional. This conversation will explore the impact of SRO’s, the available data on school discipline, the need for school based mental health providers, and alternatives to school-based law enforcement toward practices that promote a safe, healthy, and inclusive school climate.


The CHCI Graduate Fellowship Program is unique in that it is a paid program, made possible thanks to the generous support of the following sponsors:


March 17, 2021
March 25, 2021


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