Scholars Corner- Janine Gonzalez MCAT Scholarship

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Iman Tassavor is a non-traditional, pre-medical student who has completed his Bachelors of Science in Biology at San Francisco State University. Iman has experienced a life of an immigrant as he and his family had emigrated multiple times in pursuit of a better life. Interestingly, this journey has led Iman to experience living in countries that are in opposite poles when it comes to healthcare. In Iran, he and his family had limited access to healthcare, and they had to resort to charity clinics along with outreach programs to receive medicine or vaccines. For the most part, Medicine was a commodity for him and his family. When Iman and his family permanently moved to Vancouver, Canada, access to health care was guaranteed and no longer an issue.

However, when Iman moved to San Francisco to complete his undergraduate studies, he did not have the same privilege in the United States. As a young adult in San Francisco, Iman realized many low-income individuals like himself, could not afford health insurance. These events have made Iman aware of the healthcare disparities in his local community, and it has inspired him to pursue a career in medicine. While pursuing this journey, Iman committed time to train and educate the low-income, underserved, and immigrant students in San Francisco to establish a career as medical assistance. Most of his students have now found employment at a local hospital. Iman will continue his work as an instructor and will start his new volunteer position at a local free clinic to help reduce the health complications of uninsured diabetic patients.

Jerry Ramirez – My parents immigrated from Mexico and settled in East Los Angeles, where I was born and raised. My family and I often relied on curanderas to help us feel better because we rarely had adequate access to healthcare. As I grew older, I pushed even harder to succeed in school because I believed that if I could go to college, I could one day return to my roots and likewise communities and be a medical liaison for people with these very barriers. As an undergraduate at UC Davis, I was involved in student organizations like C.H.E and Clinica Tepati, which served as a reminder that individuals are still facing the same barriers to health care that my family and I faced nearly 20 years ago. My path into medicine has taken various detours, but I have learned a lot about my community and myself along the way. I am currently taking upper division science courses as part of an informal post-bacc at UC Davis, working as a substitute teacher, and completing a dual masters program in Public Health and Behavioral Health at the University of San Francisco. However, the hardest thing I have done being a father who is pursuing a career in medicine has been being away from my two-year-old son, Leonardo. To me, being a physician not only means helping individuals from a medical standpoint, but it also means becoming an advocate for and to underrepresented communities who at most times need the medical and personal attention a lot more.