The Tale of Two Andrews
The tale of 2 Andrews, both underrepresented males in medicine, both first generation college students, both 2016 alumni of Bridging the Gaps (program designed to increase diversity in medicine), both first year medical students in the Class of 2021.
Andrew Rosales – Latino, 1st Gen
My story… Born and raised in the East Los Angeles area, I had no comprehension of what constituted a community as either being equitable or underserved. The lack of insurance and access to culturally sensitive healthcare was just a way of life for many families, therefore, I rarely ever thought twice about such circumstances. It was in my realization of just how negatively the families of disenfranchised communities are affected by health care disparities that my interest in medicine continually grew.
My pre-health journey began while attending East Los Angeles College. My family and community have both instilled an empathetic understanding of the state of health care in urban underserved communities. As a second generation Mexican American, I aspire to one day to address the lack of cultural competency in the healthcare field which ultimately affects the health outcomes of Latino families. As a Latino physician, I hope to represent the future of medicine by heartily advocating on behalf of the health and well-being of the diversity our society embodies.
The road to Keck… The Bridging the Gaps research program was truly an invaluable experience that not only provided me the opportunity of conducting research within the Keck School of Medicine, but also to obtain new mentors and meet other students sharing common interests and goals. The program’s ability to provide participants a firsthand experience of what life as a Keck student is like was truly integral to my decision of attending Keck. I recognized the unparalleled level of encouragement and support that is deeply rooted in the office of diversity, that I could not imagine myself training in anymore of a familial and conducive environment. I admire all that the Office has accomplished thus far with the BTG program and support of current medical students that I am extremely humbled and proud to have been a participant. I look forward to my years training as a medical student at Keck, having the office of diversity’s support as I train with the communities surrounding the Keck campus.
Andrew Homere – African American, 1st in family to graduate 4 year college in US
My story… As a child, I struggled to understand why my relatives passed away early, while many of my peers’ relatives lived longer with the same illnesses. All of my relatives come from what would be considered a disadvantaged background, and their environments have led to lifestyles that promote controllable chronic diseases. On my father’s side (immigrated from Haiti to the south side of Chicago), my grandmother and uncle passed away in their fifties from diabetes while my grandfather died of a stroke. On my mother’s side (living in the Philippines), my grandfather died of lung cancer before I was born. Having been to both places, it has become more apparent as to why of these health issues are so prevalent. Poor access to quality physicians in these lower-income areas ultimately leads to quality of life disadvantages. My relatives have told me that they are hesitant to see physicians because of their lack of empathy and having more aware physicians in these low income areas can help break these chronic health issue cycles through understanding the situations of these patients. I believe having “better” physicians in these areas goes beyond just knowledge of medicine and this is where I developed an interest in a medical career.
Being raised by two immigrants in a new environment for all of us meant I didn’t have a typical path to follow. While learning American culture, my diverse background gave me unique perspectives on how some underserved communities respond in certain situations and my career goal is to become capable of comforting and personalizing treatment to any patient regardless of their background.
The Road to Keck… Bridging the Gaps really allowed me to explore the different aspects of becoming a physician. Through the combination of research, shadowing, and classes, I was able to integrate some real experiences of academic physicians, confirming my interest in the profession. With the mentors and resources BTG/Keck provides, the support for students is unparalleled.