Melawhy Garcia was just 17 when her mother was diagnosed with end-stage renal failure and colon cancer—unfortunately giving her firsthand knowledge of the income, insurance and other barriers faced by Latino cancer patients.
Since then, Garcia has put cancer in her crosshairs.
Garcia already has helped conduct research and awareness on cervical cancers and other health conditions prevalent among Latinos.
She emphasizes research on cancer prevention, obesity and more in her current position as the assistant director of the California State University, Long Beach, National Council of La Raza/CSULB Center for Latino Community Health. She is responsible for the center’s various health disparities programs in the Latino community.
Garcia, who has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and a master’s degree in public health from California State University, Long Beach, was seeking additional training on cancer topics.
A mentor led her toÉxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, which aims to increase research in Latino cancer disparities by encouraging master’s-level students and health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a cancer research career.
Once in the program, Garcia gained the necessary tools, guidance, and mentoring required to successfully apply for a doctoral program.