Scholarship to Help Second-Year Medical Student Marvin Hernandez Fulfill His Dreams of Giving Back to the Underserved
For Marvin Hernandez, Class of 2026, his future career as a physician will empower him to positively impact those in most need. It is a passion that guides his medical school training and community engagement.
“It’s important to go into community clinics to help those that don't have access to health care; to go to schools and to universities that don't have a large presence of Latinos, so that we can try to talk to them and inspire them to get to where we are today,” he said. As co-president of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix’s chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association, he prides himself on being an example for his community.The National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF) recognized Hernandez’s dedication to serving his community and selected him to receive their scholarship. He, along with the other recipients, was honored during the Annual Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship Gala — November 17, 2023, in Los Angeles, CA (an additional ceremony will be held on November 30, 2023, in New York City, NY).
The scholarship — which offers $5,000 per year over three years — stems from a partnership between the NHHF and the United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative. The scholarship aims to increase the number of primary care health providers and create a more culturally relevant health workforce to meet emerging health care needs, particularly in underserved communities.
The NHHF spoke highly of Hernandez when noting why he was selected for the scholarship, “He was chosen for his remarkable academic achievements, dedication and exemplary character. They not only impressed the scholarship committee, but also served as a testament to the high standards of education upheld at our university,” they said.
Hernandez was thankful to be recognized by the NHHF, “I'm very honored and privileged to receive it,” he said.
As part of the scholarship, Hernandez will have unique mentorship opportunities that aim to “demystify” or open students’ eyes to different areas of health care. It was an element of the award that he was excited about. “I definitely want to learn from their journey. Just see what they have been through and relate that to what I have been through, as well,” he said. “I can use that to translate when I become a mentor later. Being a mentor to those who were in similar situations that I was and point them in the right direction.”
Hernandez looks forward to becoming part of a more culturally relevant workforce. As a Latino and as a former medical interpreter, he has witnessed first-hand the barriers to care that can negatively impact people.
“In medicine and a lot of underserved populations — like Latino populations, refugee populations — it is really important to understand the culture as best you can. You do not have to know it to a T, but enough to where the patients can feel comfortable, the families can feel comfortable,” he said. “It is really just earning that trust, so that they can establish that rapport, establish that relationship and be able to deliver the best care that you can give them.”
In addition to the NHHF Scholarship, Hernandez was selected for the UArizona Primary Care Scholarship this year. It recognizes his commitment to practicing primary care in the state of Arizona for at least two years after he completes his residency training. The scholarship allows medical students to pursue careers in primary care, an area of immense need in the state, without worrying about how they will repay medical school debt.
About the College
Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated more than 800 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,700 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Bioscience Core, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.