Undergraduate Health Equity Scholars

Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) Travel Grant.

The California Initiative for Health Equity & Action (Cal-IHEA) sponsors a travel grant each year with the goal of immersing diverse first generation undergraduates across the state in the health policy community. This grant allows for students across the UC and CSU systems to attend the Insure the Uninsured Project (ITUP) Annual Conference, a two day health policy conference in Sacramento, that exposes them to up and coming health policy perspectives. Scholars have the opportunity to attend workshops, network with speakers, and attend a reception where they get to network one on one with health care experts and professionals.

The application for the spring 2020 Health Equity Scholars Program is now closed. Please check back back in late 2020 for next years cohort application.

Check out the 2020 Health Equity Scholars below. Cal-IHEA is proud of our cohort of scholars and looking forward to the ITUP Conference.

2020 Health Equity Scholars

Adaeze Onuoha Health Equity Scholar

Adaeze Onuoha

University of California, Los Angeles 


“I have witnessed multiple health disparities that continue to affect low-income and poor communities of color on an immediate and global scale. I aspire to focus on health policy initiatives and interventions that target different sectors of health that impact marginalized communities.”

Amy Mancia Health Equity Scholar

Amy Mancia

University of California, Santa Cruz

Sociology and Latin American and Latinx Studies

"I was exposed early on to injustices and disparities between her community. As a result, I aspire to work in public service, and have a strong interest in health care and immigration policy, as well as doing field work helping low-income communities of color."

Andrea Diaz Health Equity Scholar

Andrea Diaz Aquino

California State University, Monterey Bay

Collaborative Health and Human Services

"I currently intern for the Monterey County Oral Health Program, creating and implementing school-based education to the local students about oral hygiene. I aspire to continue working with communities and policymakers in order to address the health disparities in low-income communities."

 Atziri Barboza Health Equity Scholar

Atziri Barboza

California State University, Fresno


"I was born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico and when my family relocated to the U.S. I realized that even though there are more opportunities and resources in the US, there is still a big gap in who has access to them. I aspire to obtain a dual MD-MPH degree and serve as an advocate for underrepresented and underserved communities."

Carina Hernandez Health Equity Scholar

Carina Hernandez

University of California, Berkeley


"I currently work as a Collegium Fellow with the Berkeley Interdisciplinary Migration Initiative to consolidate current health resources for immigrants in the Bay Area. I am inspired to create new medical technologies and determined to engineer solutions to bridge the gap in health inequalities in low-income, immigrant communities."

Cristobal Navarrete Health Equity Scholar

Cristobal Navarrete

University of California, Los Angeles

Political Science

"Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, my family and I migrated to California and experienced the health disparities present in low income immigrant communities. I aspire to help low income communities organize and advocate for policy initiatives to mend local health disparities."

Earl Morales Health Equity Scholar

Earl Morales

University of California, Davis


"I seek to obtain a master's degree in epidemiology or biostatistics in the future and potentially a PhD in the former. I aspire to use my knowledge and experiences for health policy initiatives that target the social determinants of health that impact minority and low-income communities."

Emmanuel Chavez Health Equity Scholar

 Emmanuel Chavez

University of California, Riverside


"Originally from Oxnard, California, I grew up in a Latino immigrant community, where I would see many individuals struggle to try to access a healthcare provider. I aspire to improve access to healthcare for undocumented immigrants through health policy initiatives and community-run organizations, in hopes of improving health equity."

Erika Villareal Health Equity Scholar

Erika Villarreal

University of California, San Diego

Political Science

"Coming from a low-income community and growing up undocumented, I have witnessed the many struggles within my community regarding the disparity of care and the very few options geared towards ensuring their medical needs are actually met. I aspire to become a part of a team to create safe, trusted and affordable policy options inclusive of all living in California."

Gabriela Pacheco Health Equity Scholar

Gabriela Pacheco

University of California, Davis

Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior

"I intend to leave the ITUP conference with a better understanding of current topics surrounding health equity especially disparities in nutrition and food security. I will use this knowledge to develop solutions that address the needs of community members in the Davis/Sacramento area."

Griselda Ruiz Health Equity Scholar

Griselda L. Ruiz

University of California, San Diego

Public Health

"I am passionate about eliminating health disparities through education, policy initiatives, and interventions that effectively target the population. I aspire to give back to marginalized communities by allocating proper resources in order to reduce and prevent negative health outcomes."

Janae Briggs Health Equity Scholar

Janae Briggs

University of California, Berkeley

Public Health

"I am the lead researcher and co-creator of a holistic program the UC Berkeley will institute this summer, which mitigates adverse effects of ascribed statuses hindering underrepresented-minority students’ educational attainment. Ultimately, I desire to participate in research that transforms global health policy and prevents further exposure to carcinogenic, teratogenic, and obesogenic compounds."

Janet Ortiz Health Equity Scholar

Janet Ortiz

California State University, Long Beach

Health Science

"I saw, and personally experienced the effects of health disparities. This fueled my desire to make health care accessible and equitable. I aspire to conduct research to help empower and improve health outcomes in the Latino community by using a public health framework to identify risk factors for chronic diseases that are prevalent in this population."

Jocelyn Acosta Health Equity Scholar

Jocelyn Acosta

University of California, Merced

Public Health

"I am currently a research assistant for the Health Policy Research Group led by Dr. Denise Payán evaluating past state healthcare legislation. I hope to pursue an MPH and focus on my current passions in health and community involvement."

Juan Solis Health Equity Scholar

Juan Solis

University of California Los Angeles

Gender and Latinx Studies

"After finishing my undergraduate career, I plan to pursue a dual master’s in Social Work and Public health focusing on Community Health Sciences. I strongly believe that in order for true change to happen there needs to be grass root movements led by the communities that are directly impacted."

Liliana Lopez Health Equity Scholar

Lilianna Lopez

University of California, Riverside


"Growing up in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside Counties, Lilianna has experienced and witnessed many emerging challenges for low-income and immigrant families regarding access to higher education and health care. My ultimate goal is to attend medical school."

Mariana Carrola Health Equity Scholar

Mariana Carrola

University of California San Diego 

Public Health and Education Studies

"I am originally from Durango, Mexico but grew up in Compton, California. Growing up Iwitnessed both health and healthcare disparities in my community. I aspire to focus on health policy initiatives that target access to primary care services for undocumented migrant workers."

Marina Ruiz Health Equity Scholar

Marina Ruiz

University of California, Irvine

Nursing Science

I seek to become more involved in ways that can help low income communities. I seek to gain more knowledge on health policies that affect under-served communities so that I am better equipped to contribute as a future health care professional.

Phuong-Anh Do Health Equity Scholar

Phuong-Anh Do

University of California, Riverside


"I am passionate about health policies and hopes to attend medical school in the future. I aspire to help end health disparities for underserved communities by providing accessible and quality health care to patients. "

Uwaila Omokaro Health Equity Scholar

Uwaila Omokaro

University of California, Los Angeles


"My academic interests lie in how systems of oppression and societal inequities influence health-related behaviors and health outcomes. I especially have an interest in taking an intersectional approach to analyzing health inequities that affect underserved communities. "