Scholar Class – 2013
Michael Haymer grew up in Orange County, CA and was raised with 3 sisters and 1 brother by a strong single-mother. He learned to enjoy dancing in green tights to Mary Martin’s Peter Pan and curling his mother’s hair, but found that expressing these interests in a conservative atmosphere meant relentless homophobic bullying. Despite these challenges, Michael found that qualities others found aversive were the source of strength and courage he needed to come out. During this time, Michael became interested in medicine after watching his mother live without health insurance to treat several chronic, preventable diseases.
As an undergraduate at UCLA, Michael experienced a period of homelessness, sleeping in his car or the library to complete his education. He used this experience to acknowledge student homelessness and as co-founder of Happy Feet Clinic, which he has continued as a medical student in the PRIME Program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Prior to matriculating to medical school, Michael worked as a community educator for an international HIV vaccine trial and conducted vital public health research on the use of GPS-enabled mobile technology to improve community outreach methods for HIV/AIDS prevention. During his first year of medical school, Michael’s mother passed away from complications of undertreated diabetes. Despite this incredible loss, Michael rebounded from the tragedy and his passion for serving the most under-resourced and vulnerable populations is a tribute to his mother.
He is currently involved in research related to transgender healthcare and helped change UCLA Health System’s policies and practices related to LGBT patient-centered care. Michael has also enhanced LGBT medical education at UCLA and directed the LGBT Health Student Symposium, which hosted over 100 students from across the country to learn about LGBTQ health and how to improve healthcare for the community. In recognition of his efforts, Michael received the campus-wide UCLA Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Award from Chancellor Gene Block and the UCLA Academic Senate.