Research Assistant and Recipient of School of Public Health Dean Office Fellowship

Master of Public Health program

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

I'm from Cali, Colombia, the salsa capital of the world! I studied Social Communication and Journalism with an approach in social change. I had the opportunity to work with CIDEIM, an organization dedicated to research on infectious diseases, with the purpose of contributing to the improvement of public health from the approaches of biomedical research, social research and social innovation in health. There, I worked in participatory projects supporting community engagement processes and planning and implementation of co-creation strategies with ethnic and rural communities from Colombia, and as a part of the Social Innovation in Health Initiative in which we identified and recognized different projects that improve the health of Latin American communities with an innovative and participatory lens. I enjoy my work, dancing, exercising, sports in general and eating delicious food. 

My main goal is to live with purpose, recognizing that from my privileges and opportunities I can contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of communities in Colombia and try to achieve health for all.

Why did you decide to attend the UW for graduate school? 

I decided to attend the UW for graduate school because I met health project leaders and mentors like María Isabel Echavarría, Magaly Blas and Juan Pablo Montoya, who studied here the program I am doing, and I felt that they were integrally trained people. 

Living in Colombia and working with rural and ethnic communities has allowed me to see the social inequalities and the challenges that people have to face to access to healthcare services. So, I really liked the interdisciplinary approach, health equity and social justice, since they are the main lens that I want to apply in my professional future.

The diversity in Global Health Program was also key because it represents an opportunity to grow professionally and personally, learning from other experiences, cultures and disciplines. 

What are your research interests?

My interests are health equity, health promotion and health education with marginalized populations, climate change and health in communities who live in rural zones, social determinants of health, implementation science, community-based participatory research. 

What are you enjoying most about your graduate program?

Everything! The faculty and staff are integral and passionate persons, the campus is so beautiful and comfortable. Connecting with people from my cohort and classmates has been very enriching because it is a constant learning process. Also, being Colombian, a Spanish-speaking country, I consider that living in a language different from the native one is also a process of much growth that constantly challenges me, allows me to improve and face fears every day.