Oliva Campa, a first-year student at the UC Davis School of Medicine, has been awarded a 2010 Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship from the National Hispanic Health Foundation. The annual award was created to honor Hispanic students in medicine, nursing, dentistry and public health who exhibit exceptional academic performance, leadership and commitment to Hispanic communities. Campa will receive the $5,000 scholarship award during ceremonies on Oct. 9 in San Francisco.
As an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University in Southern California, Campa worked in research efforts aimed at advancing the understanding of Alzheimer's disease, lung cancer and other chronic illnesses. At UC Davis School of Medicine, she has taken an active interest reducing health disparities and increasing awareness of career opportunities in health care among young people from underserved communities.
Campa recently helped organize a free health fair at the state Capitol that focused on diabetes and obesity. The event offered educational information for Spanish-speaking participants and provided blood-pressure checks, blood-sugar testing and body mass index measurements.
"Olivia is an inspiration," said Darin Latimore, director of UC Davis' medical student diversity office. "She has been in medical school less than three months and has already displayed the desire and dedication it takes to be a health leader in the community."
Campa also is interested in mentoring high school students interested in careers in health and medicine. The Santa Barbara native says that while her family was not well off by any means, the surrounding community offered a wealth of learning opportunities that helped put her on the path to medical school.
"I hope to be able to share what I've learned with young students who might come from communities that don't have a lot of role models in higher education or in careers like medicine," said Campa. "My hometown gave me some wonderful opportunities, and now I want to give back and hopefully help encourage people from disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue academic and career paths in health."
The National Hispanic Health Foundation was formed in 1994 and is affiliated with the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University. The foundation aims to provide a unique leadership role by marshalling the creative energy of Hispanic researchers from around the country and providing the insights and strategies that can translate into a healthier Hispanic population and quality care for the underserved.