A Legacy of Student Advocacy and Leadership
CaHPSA E-Newsletter ∙ Volume 2, Issue 3  Special Edition  August 2020

Hello health justice advocates! 

Are you curious about the people who make CaHPSA possible? In this special edition of our newsletter, you will meet some of the amazing student activists and leaders who have helped CaHPSA grow into the vast student-led statewide network it is today. If you would like to connect with any of our featured members or get involved in CaHPSA or CaPA (our parent organization), please contact us

California Health Professional Student Alliance (CaHPSA)

CaHPSA Mentors: Guiding the Next Generation of Leaders

As former CaHPSA statewide leaders and organizers, CaHPSA Mentors provide unique perspectives on healthcare advocacy, policy, and justice. They are available for individual and group mentoring sessions on health reform, effective advocacy, medical school, public health, and more! All CaHPSA members are welcome to reach out to any of the following CaHPSA Mentors (from left to right):
  • Angelica C. Martin, MPH is a first-year medical student at UC Davis School of Medicine. She is a former CaHPSA Coordinator and CaPA's former Executive Director.
  • Keyon R. Mitchell, MD, MSW is a third-year medical resident in Obstetrics and Gynecology at UC Davis Medical Center. He is a former CaPA Fellow who also coordinated the CaHPSA program.
CaHPSA Advisors: A Support Network for New Advocates

CaHPSA Advisors are former chapter leaders who are now resources for emerging chapters and students who are new to healthcare advocacy. As a CaHPSA member, feel free to connect with any of our insightful Advisors! We are thrilled to welcome four new members to our growing statewide team of advisors (left to right):
  • Sarah Bakir is a former undergraduate chapter leader at UC Berkeley, where she is now pursuing her Master of Public Health (MPH) degree.
  • Kevin Liu is a former leader and co-founder of the UC San Diego chapter and is currently a Lifestyle Coach for Diabetes Prevention with Skinny Gene Project.
  • Joseline Ochoa is a former chapter leader at UC San Diego and is currently completing her Master of Physician Assistant Practice (MPAP) degree at Keck School of Medicine at USC.
  • May Simpson founded the UC Berkeley undergraduate chapter and is currently a Policy Fellow at Manifest Medex.
CaHPSA Graduates: Celebrating the Student Journey

So many CaHPSA students who enter the workforce or transition to graduate, medical, or health professional schools emphasize that they will remain lifelong advocates for health justice. We celebrate our CaHPSA "Graduates" as they continue on their journies to becoming health/medical professionals who embrace health care as a human right.

In this issue, we feature Melanie Valentin, a former CaHPSA Advisor who has just started medical school at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Melanie was an exceptional CaHPSA leader who co-founded the CaHPSA chapter at Keck Graduate Institute, attended legislative visits, and advised students on effective advocacy. We wish her the very best. Congratulations, Melanie!
"Before joining CaHPSA, I was skeptical about the impact my advocacy efforts could have on the health care system. Growing up and working in underserved communities throughout my life has shown me the impact of social injustice and cultural barriers can have on health and contribute to disparities. The systemic cause of these issues always seemed like an impossible task to take on and overcome. However, with the guidance and support of CaHPSA advisors, leaders, and students, I have learned how sharing my story as a part of a diverse team can amplify the calls for equitable and culturally competent care that I have seen a desperate need for. My efforts with CaHPSA have helped me develop my leadership, health policy reading/ advocacy skills and instilled in me a desire to continue advocating for communities and patients. As I start my journey as a medical student at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, I look forward to using the skills I've developed with CaHPSA to become a physician who serves as an ally for patients."
Chapter Spotlight: Undergraduate Chapter at UCLA

Did you know that CaHPSA members are active on 18 medical, graduate, undergraduate, and community college campuses throughout the state? CaHPSA chapters are spaces for students to better understand health policy, network with justice-oriented peers, and take action. Contact us today to start your own chapter or connect with a representative on your campus!

Meet the talented leaders of the UCLA undergraduate chapter of CaHPSA!

From top left to bottom right: Tayloneei Jackson (President), Angus Wu (Chief of Staff), Sophia Johnson (Legislative Advocacy Director), Simran Athwal (Policy Research Director), and Alex Hitti (Staff Development Director)

Chapter Mission: CaHPSA at UCLA seeks to maximize our health advocacy by organizing ourselves based on monthly themes, such as Reproductive Justice, Immigrant Health Access, and Healthcare in the Carceral System. Each month will contain educational workshops, community service, and a tailored week of action! Our weeks of action are jam-packed with a series of action items (ie. cold-calling state representatives) related to the theme of the month.

Connect with CaHPSA at UCLA: Instagram (@cahpsaucla) | Facebook | Website


From CaHPSA to CaPA

CaPA's current Executive Director, Beatriz Sosa-Prado, MS, is a former CaHPSA chapter leader herself! Below, Beatriz shares how CaHPSA has influenced her approach to leadership and advocacy.

“CaHPSA deeply invests in our student leaders because they are the future healthcare and public health professionals! While in graduate school (a decade ago), I profoundly benefited from CaHPSA; it provided me the tools I needed to be an effective health policy advocate and leader. My past experiences as a CaHPSA leader inform my leadership as CaPA's Executive Director today.”

CaHPSA Representatives on the CaPA Board

Our CaHPSA Representatives provide the student perspective on the board of CaPA, our parent organization. Representatives are selected based on their strong record of CaHPSA advocacy and chapter leadership and they lead special projects during their time on the board. A special thank you to our two amazing outgoing representatives, Dahlia Chavez and Soham Mhatre, who have shared a bit about their experiences below! Welcome to our two awesome incoming representatives Niloufar Khanna and Jessica Osorio, who are medical students at California Northstate University College of Medicine and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, respectively.

Dahlia: "Being a CaHPSA Representative on the CaPA Board was an honor and a wonderful experience that allowed me to learn from amazing CaPA members as well as allowed me to grow as a healthcare advocate. I continue to be involved in CaHPSA because it is such a caring organization that gives students many opportunities to improve their skills and stay connected with like-minded individuals. CaHPSA4Life!"

Soham: “I am very thankful for having the opportunity to serve as a CaHPSA representative on the CaPA Board; this experience has taught me a lot about our healthcare system and the challenges we face to improve it. It's the community behind CaPA and CaHPSA that makes it so great. You won't find people anywhere else who are as friendly, intelligent, and driven to make a change. The people I have worked with inspire me to continue to be involved in CaHPSA and keep on fighting towards universal healthcare!"
New Member Spotlight
Welcome to Carmen Ma, who has brought so much energy and enthusiasm to CaHPSA since she first joined this summer! Carmen graduated from UC Santa Cruz and is currently based in San Francisco. She has become a CaHPSA Mentee and will also help with campus outreach and engagement this fall. Contact us if you would like to join the CaHPSA outreach team or connect with new members like Carmen.

“I chose to join CaHPSA because patients’ stories compel me to speak up for my patients and communities. As a mentee, I am excited to learn more about healthcare policies and gain the confidence and knowledge to effectively advocate.”
Project White Coat: Helping People Get Health Coverage

Project White Coat (PWC) trains and mobilizes students as Certified Enrollment Counselors (CEC) so they can help people in their communities enroll in health coverage. Since 2014, CaHPSA's PWC counselors have helped over 500 families enroll in health plans! If you would like to join Project White Coat and volunteer as a CEC in your community, please submit this PWC Volunteer Application.
Meet Yesenia Buenrostro Ramirez, our new Community Ambassador for the Central Valley, and read why she took on this leadership position with CaHPSA!

"The reason I accepted the role of ambassador for PWC is because I believe my community in Fresno, California would greatly benefit from having assistance in finding healthcare coverage. Many families come from low-income households, solely Spanish-speaking, and have different legal status in their homes; I hope to reach these families and provide them with the assistance they need to gain health coverage."
William Skeen Award for Outstanding Student Leadership

CaPA and CaHPSA have awarded the inaugural William Skeen Award for Outstanding Student Leadership to Justin Nguyen, DO, MPH. Dr. Nguyen is a former CaHPSA medical student leader at Touro University whose consistent, insightful, and diligent leadership inspired many students throughout California. He has also served on the CaPA Board of Directors and as a CaHPSA Advisor. Currently, Dr. Nguyen is completing a medical training program in Florida.
“I am honored to receive the 2020 William Skeen Award for Outstanding Student Leadership. When I started medical school, CaHPSA was the only group on my campus dedicated to fighting for progressive health care reform in California. My work in CaHPSA defined the values with which I would grow as a physician and helped me realize the huge role that health professional students play in driving forward the movement towards Medicare-for-All. Our medical training should be grounded in the principle of healing everyone and excluding no one. To that end, CaPA/CaHPSA was an absolutely crucial component of my medical school journey."


A message from Camille Avila-Darosa, Project Manager of the CaHPSA Newsletters:

Are you interested in taking a deeper look at public policy and healthcare reform? Join our Newsletter Team! Our team works to create engaging, creative newsletters on a variety of healthcare topics. Previous topics included health inequity, the need for healthcare reform, public policy updates, and more! We embrace CaHPSA’s passion for education and community outreach with our passion for knowledge and keeping our community updated. No experience necessary. This is open to all students and recent graduates. Contact us to learn more or get involved!

Additional Volunteer and Leadership Opportunities:

1. Join the Organizing Committee for CaHPSA's 2020 Virtual Week of Action and Activate U Conference: Collaborate on activities and skill-development workshops for students to learn concrete advocacy skills.

2. Join our NEW statewide Advocacy Team: Create and distribute advocacy alerts and mobilize students to take action.

3. Join our NEW Media Team: Produce and share social media posts that reach students and activists throughout the state.

4. Join our Outreach Team: Collaborate with CaHPSA members to develop campus outreach strategies to engage more students in healthcare advocacy efforts.

5. Start a CaHPSA chapter on your campus: Launch CaHPSA efforts on your campus to create spaces for students to learn about health policy and how to take action.

6. Join Project White Coat: Become a Certified Enrollment Counselor (CEC) to assist community members with their applications for health insurance. 

Contact CaHPSA
Stay tuned for our next issue of the CaHPSA E-Newsletter!
Read our past newsletters 

Questions? Suggestions for future newsletters? 
Contact us

CaHPSA is the student section of California Physicians Alliance (CaPA).
California Physicians Alliance
California Health Professional Student Alliance

1137 Wilshire Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90017
(213) 482-0256 |

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