Meet the 2012 Point Scholars
BY Advocate.com Editors
June 14 2012 9:43 AM ET
Minton-Spidell Point Scholar
University of California, Berkeley
Born in East Los Angeles, Nicholas Orozco grew up in predominantly urban Latino communities. He witnessed inequalities stemming from marginalization due to language barriers, culture, and education in his community and family. These experiences left him with a desire to pursue medicine as a way to provide access to health care, to prevent illness, and to make an impact on his community.
However, Orozco struggled with being gay in a very religious and conservative Latino family. Coming to terms with his identity in the context of antagonistic religious beliefs, attitudes and cultural values was difficult. He experienced rejection, fear, and isolation, but was able to find acceptance and confidence from friends and mentors, and learned of key health issues facing the LGBT community. Like members of his family who were marginalized because of education, culture, and language barriers, LGBT people also experience marginalization and health disparities due to vulnerability and discrimination. This motivated him to work toward eliminating disparities in the LGBT community and other underserved communities.
Nick is a medical student earning his MHS‐MD degrees in the UC Berkeley‐UCSF Joint Medical Program and Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved. He is spearheading the development of a free clinic to serve homeless, low‐income, and uninsured LGBT persons, as well as developing a course on LGBT health for his medical school’s curriculum. Orozco’s goal is to become a family medicine physician who can serve and advocate for disadvantaged and underserved populations.