Elevating the Safety Net 2018 Scholarship Recipients

L.A. Care launched the Elevating the Safety Net initiative on July 19, 2018. It was an important day not just for the start of a new project — it was a moment to announce the eight recipients of up to $350,000 in full medical school scholarships.

The scholarship program of Elevating the Safety Net relieves future physicians of the enormous debt that often comes with a medical school education.

"Most med students say they chose the field because they wanted to help people, but altruism takes a major hit when students leave med school with a loan payment the size of a mortgage," said L.A. Care CEO John Baackes. "These scholarships relieve them of that burden."

Four of the scholarships were awarded to medical school students at the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science: Felipe Ocampo, Micaela Torres, Yesenia Calderon Leon, and Parris Diaz. 

The other four scholarships went to medical school students at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA: Nguyen Pham, Alma Lopez, Tracy Nguyen, and Kaylin Gonzalez.
 

Yesenia Calderson LeonYesenia Calderon Leon
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Yesenia Calderon Leon lived in Mexico until age 10, when her family immigrated to California's Central Valley. As a child, she helped translate for her father at the local clinic, and that inspired her to work on health disparities. Yesenia received a degree in Biochemistry at UC Irvine.


Parris DiazParris Diaz
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Parris Diaz was raised by an undocumented mother in South Central Los Angeles. He attended San Francisco State University, where he volunteered in schools that lacked health education classes. He also helped start a program to improve cultural competency in educators. Parris received a degree in Biochemistry. 


Kayline GonzalezKaylin Gonzalez 
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Kaylin Gonzalez was raised by a single mother in San Diego. She attended Johns Hopkins University, where she majored in Public Health and received a Master’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
  


Tracy NguyenTracy Nguyen
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Tracy Nguyen was born in Inglewood to parents who immigrated from Vietnam. She attended UC Irvine, where she volunteered in the emergency department and at a free clinic for low-income residents. She wants to practice in underserved communities. Tracy received a degree in Biological Sciences. 


Alma Lopez

Alma Lopez
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Alma Lopez was born in Los Angeles, but spent much of her childhood in Mexico. The family returned to L.A. when she was 10. She attended UCLA, where she danced with Grupo Folklorico, and volunteered as a tutor in underserved elementary schools. She graduated with a degree in Neuroscience. 


Felipe OcampoFelipe Ocampo
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Felipe Ocampo grew up living in a trailer on a dairy farm California's Central Valley. His parents had immigrated from Mexico. He worked at an area primary care clinic, where he translated to ensure people in his community understood their health issues. He received a degree in Biology from CSU Monterey Bay. 


Nguyen Pham NguyenNguyen Pham
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

Nguyen Pham Nguyen lived in Vietnam until he was 14, when his family immigrated to Gardena. Nguyen attended UCLA. While there, he mentored minority children interested in health care careers. He hopes to become a pediatrician. Nguyen received a degree in Biochemistry.


Micaela TorresMicaela Torres
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Micaela Torres grew up in a low-income community in the Central Valley with her immigrant parents. She attended UCLA, and served as a camp counselor for L.A. high school students from underrepresented communities. She received a degree in Psychobiology, graduating Cum Laude.