Class of 2021, David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles and Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science

NMF Scholar Brenda Iglesias grew up in South Gate, a predominantly Latinx community in Los Angeles County. She saw first-hand how healthcare disparities affect people like her family, neighbors, and friends; what it’s like to live in a hospital desert with limited healthcare resources.

Brenda wants to make a difference, to fight for the community. And she’s already doing that, before she’s even graduated. The COVID-19 crisis hit South Gate hard. Brenda had friends and family who got sick. No longer able to work in the hospital, she volunteered giving coronavirus tests in Southeast LA, providing vital assistance to South Gate and other communities.

And she didn’t stop there. Acutely aware of how the pandemic is affecting her community, Brenda called in to city council meetings to advocate for increasing funding for services—like parks, public works, mental health resources—that have been proven to make communities safer and healthier. She’s a very data-driven person, so she shared the research with the council.

Brenda will be the kind of doctor we all want to see—and that we all need to transform healthcare.