Scholar Spotlight: Jessie Guerrero
The NMF Scholar Spotlight for June 2019 goes to Jessie Guerrero, our Scholar Speaker for the 2019 Los Angeles Champions of Health Awards! Continue reading below to learn more about his journey into medicine.
Jessie Guerrero’s introduction to healthcare came through the act of helping others: when his parents sought healthcare after immigrating to the US, Jessie served as their translator. He witnessed how language and cultural barriers affected access to care for underserved patients. From long wait times to short appointments, to complicated payment plans for often unaffordable care, Jessie became interested in two things: the science of medicine and the human body, and the healthcare structures that affected his family.
A first-generation college student, Jessie attended University of California, Los Angeles where he saw how health was provided differently to affluent communities. During his undergraduate studies, he learned about the social determinants of health and how they impact health status and health outcomes for the underserved and he began his pursuit of a medical career. He took on leadership positions to help him prepare to lead: instructing in first aid for the American Red Cross, helping Spanish-speaking families learn better nutrition, and participating in Chicanos/Latinos for Community Medicine at UCLA. He was subsequently accepted to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine & Science, where he has continued to research, mentor, and lead in community care.
In 2017 Jessie participated in the NMF Primary Care Leadership Program (PCLP), spending six weeks with AltaMed Health Services Corporation in Los Angeles. NMF and PCLP provided him with the opportunity, support, guidance, and resources to become a leader in underserved communities. He not only gained real life experience, but also gained a new mentor who guided him through his PCLP project, supported him as he made decisions to achieve his future goals, and discussed with Jessie the challenges of medical school and how best to manage them. Today, Jessie is grateful to PCLP for helping him pursue his goal to become a primary care physician – and looks forward to practicing in underserved communities.