Scholar Class – 2012
Born in East Los Angeles, CA, Nicholas Orozco grew up in predominantly urban Latino communities. As an adolescent, Nick witnessed inequalities stemming from marginalization due to language barriers, culture, and education in his community and family. These experiences left him with a desire to pursue medicine as a way to provide access to health care, to prevent illness, and to make an impact on his community. However, Nick struggled with being gay in a very religious and conservative Latino family. Coming to terms with his identity in the context of antagonistic religious beliefs, attitudes and cultural values was difficult. He experienced rejection, fear, and isolation, but was able to find acceptance and confidence from friends and mentors, and learned of key health issues facing the LGBTQ community. Like members of his family who were marginalized because of education, culture, and language barriers, LGBTQ persons also experience marginalization and health disparities due to vulnerability and discrimination. This has motivated him to work toward eliminating disparities in the LGBTQ community and other underserved communities.
Nick is a medical student earning his MHS‐MD degrees in the UC Berkeley‐UCSF Joint Medical Program and Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved. He is spearheading the development of a free clinic to serve homeless, low‐income, and uninsured LGBTQ persons, as well as developing an LGBTQ Health course for his medical school’s curriculum. Nick’s goal is to become a Family Medicine physician who can serve and advocate for disadvantaged and underserved populations.