Evelyn Escobedo, a 2008 Loyola Marymount University graduate, was honored in June with the prestigious American Medical Association Foundation Minority Scholars Award. The honor is given to 20 medical students nationwide each year to recognize scholastic achievement, leadership and personal commitment to helping eliminate health disparities. Escobedo recently completed her second year at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
She traveled to Chicago in June to accept the award at the AMA’s annual meeting. Escobedo is pursuing both a medical degree and Master’s degree in public policy at UCLA and hopes to someday work on policy, business and organizational issues in medicine.
“One of the opportunities with this award is you get to meet medical student leaders from across the nation,” she says. “That is such a powerful thing because they are also working on policy and the business aspects of medicine. To start this early in my career to create that network was huge for me.”
Escobedo’s appetite for helping others was whetted while earning dual degrees in biology and Spanish as an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University. The Los Angeles native credits strong mentoring with her academic success and desire to help others. She mentors LMU pre-medical students as part of the LMUCLA Connection mentoring program.
The AMA award also recognized her involvement as a board member of the Lennox Health Fair, a bi-annual health fair whose mission is to provide healthcare services and health education to the city of Lennox, a predominantly Latino neighborhood under-resourced in medical services in Los Angeles County where Escobedo grew up.
“I didn’t come from a background of strong mentorship in high school,” she says. “LMU was the first place that taught me the power of mentorship and allowed me to make connections with my professors and with other students. That is where the power of mentorship got ingrained in me. It’s the power of giving back and the power of learning from others. It changed my life.”
When she mentors students today, Escobedo encourages them to take a leap of faith and try new things. After graduating from college, she participated in a fellowship working with inner-city youth in Sacramento, conducted research on healthcare access and utilization in Los Angeles, completed a post-baccalaureate program, studied for the medical school entrance exam and worked in an urgent care center.
“I became much more open-minded at LMU,” she explains. “What I learned through LMU is that there are so many opportunities out there that are available to you. Don’t ever be afraid to go outside of your comfort zone.”
During her time on the bluff, Escobedo was involved with LMU Emergency Medical Services, Chicano Latino Student Services and the Christian Life Community. Each year she also participated in Alternative Spring Break programs.
Evelyn is currently a third year medical student at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, in the PRIME program. UCLA PRIME is a five-year dual degree program focusing on the development of leaders in medicine that will improve health care delivery, research and policy in under-served communities.