What has been the single most rewarding experience of your career/studies so far?
My biggest achievement thus far has been finding opportunities to advance public health with various partners throughout the United States. One such organization that I’ve been honored to support has been the Eastern Iowa Community Bond Project (EICBP). The EICBP provides bond assistance and legal referrals to individuals who have been detained by Immigration Customs and Enforcement from Central to Eastern Iowa. The average immigration bond in Iowa sits at approximately $5,000, with the median bond sitting just under $20,000 in the United States. As of today, the EICBP has bonded out 49 individuals. Networking has also introduced me to the Latino Caucus of APHA, where I currently serve on a Young Latinx Professional committee and plan events to aid future latino/a/x professionals in public health.
What do you think is the biggest challenge that the public health field should be focusing on?
Even in the realm of public health, a vast majority of people in this country are de facto excluded from real representation in their own communities. Thus, while there are many areas in public health that need attention¬, I believe that improving health equity will continue to remain our biggest challenge in upcoming years. The Public Health 3.0 framework has improved on areas of health equity by calling upon public health officials to address social determinants through community partnerships, but this can improved by extending that to address structural and policy concerns perpetrated by our own government agencies. For example, there has not been adequate conversation to include individuals of all citizenship status–undocumented, refugee, etc. in public health settings. It will be difficult to address drivers of inequalities that continue to permeate in our country without organizing structural reform in health settings and improving health equity.