B.S., Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology, UCLA
M.S., Global Medicine, USC Keck School of Medicine
North Hills, California
“ My dream is to be a proud Latino physician who works with underserved communities and provides compassionate, culturally responsive healthcare and advocacy on their behalf. ”Kevin Cabrera
Osteopathic Medicine Student, Class of 2023
What inspired you to pursue a healthcare career?
I have always wanted to be a physician. As a kid, my mom encouraged my love of math and science and pointed me in the direction of medicine. During my tenure at UCLA, I took my first medical mission trip in Central America. During these long clinic days in a makeshift clinic in the outskirts of Masaya, Nicaragua, I spoke with patients who looked like me and I would respond in Spanish, ensuring that they understood the treatment plans their physicians created. It fueled my desire to pursue medicine and serve the Latino community. Since then, I spent two months working in Panama serving alongside Floating Doctors as a graduate student and four years in the emergency department working with underserved communities who needed care the most. My dream is to be a proud Latino physician who works with underserved communities and provides compassionate, culturally responsive healthcare and advocacy on their behalf.
How did your background and history factor into your career choice?
I am a first-generation college student, graduate student, and medical student. I stand on the shoulders of the most inspirational and courageous people, my parents. Having immigrated from Central America, my parents dreamed of better lives. Hearing of their challenges growing up, it inspired me to work just as hard and make them proud as the first physician in my family. I now belong to the 6% of proud medical students and physicians who self-identify as Latino. It inspired me to create a chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association on campus so that I could create a sense of belonging for the Latinx students. I want to be the community physician who helps Spanish-speaking Hispanic patients navigate a system that has traditionally worked against them. Despite having never seen a physician who looked like me growing up, I now get to serve as an inspiration to the next generation of Latino physicians to improve healthcare delivery and equity, and improve the health of our community. I am the first generation, but I certainly won’t be the last.
Why did you decide to attend Midwestern University?
From my interview at Midwestern, I felt at ease on campus. As a native Angelino, Midwestern provides an excellent medical education while keeping me close to my support system in California. The professors on campus have gone above and beyond to be accessible and helpful during the most stressful times of the year. I appreciate the ability to chat with the deans in passing or on a Zoom call because they want to hear about what is on my mind and want to help. The osteopathic curriculum also provided a more hands-on and complete medical education that would allow me to be a better physician. Overall, Midwestern is where I was meant to be.
What about a Midwestern University education do you want to carry forward in your career?
I hope to continue evaluating patients in their entirety. Having learned about the interconnectedness of the mind, body, and spirit to the health of a person and how structure and function are interconnected, it is imperative that I take time to know my patient. It’s a skill drilled into us from day one. There is an emphasis on camaraderie and teamwork between the several professional colleges on campus because our common goal is patient care. I hope to continue to work closely with different healthcare professionals to provide the best treatments for my future patients.
Kevin Cabrera is a Class of 2023 student from the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine in Glendale.