WASHINGTON, D.C.JUNE 18 - 24, 2017
In June 2017, twenty FACES for the Future students, each representing a FACES program from across California (San Diego, Hayward, San Francisco, South Alameda County, Sacramento and East Oakland), traveled to Washington, D.C. to participate in the second year of the Global Health Youth Summit (GHYS).
This extraordinary Summit was developed and implemented in partnership and collaboration with the Global Health Fellows Program-II (GHFP-II), a fellow project of the Public Health Institute. The GHYS was created with the intention to inspire FACES students to pursue careers in global health, thereby helping to build the next generation of diverse global health professionals.
All students acquired a deeper understanding of global health and completed the program with a stronger desire to work in global health professions.
Read on for a blog by GHYS 2017 participant, Elizabeth Fuentes, and photos from the FACES students’ trip to Washington, D.C.
This week has redefined the way I think of global health . . . I saw myself in many of the staff members and the people I met. It made me feel empowered and inspired.— Lionel S.
This experience was reassuring to me because I know that no matter where I come from, I can be successful and make a difference in the world.— Fatima P.
"We Can Acomplish Anything"
Blog By Elizabeth Fuentes, GHYS Student
My name is Elizabeth Fuentes Benitez, I recently graduated from the FACES for the Future, Hayward program. My journey with FACES began my junior year of high school. I couldn’t help but feel like I was destined to be part of the FACES program. I want to be an MD within OB/GYN, but I’m also extremely fascinated with HIV/AIDS and new ways to help those who have contracted HIV.
Over 200 students applied for the FACES program that year and only 30 students would be selected, which made me nervous. Thus, the shock when I received my acceptance letter in the mail.
That year was the first year the Global Health Youth Summit (GHYS) was being offered and, sadly, I didn’t apply since I knew I would be out of the country, in the Dominican Republic doing community service work with my delegation. Luckily, my best friend attended the GHYS and filled me in on everything they learned which began to spark my interest in Global Health.
Diversity became our best friend and strongest ally when in the capitol, simply because we are representing our communities around us.
This summer, I was privileged enough to travel to Washington, D.C. and met some magnificent and brilliant mentors, fellows and fellow students. I learned so much about global health and the distinct career paths within that broad umbrella.
Global Health allows me to combine three of my interest areas, therefore, I no longer have to decide on just one. When talking to the mentors, I discovered how personal passions turn into life careers, and how similar our backgrounds truly are. I will be majoring in Biology/ Pre- Med at the Dominican University of California and after meeting some of the fellow and mentors during the flash mentoring workshop, I began to look into the distinct career paths within my major.
Throughout the entire program, every single person I met had nothing but positivity and good wishes for us students. To finally meet professionals who are out in the field making such great differences truly touched me!
One of the biggest take away from the program is that we can accomplish anything. Diversity became our best friend and strongest ally when in the capitol, simply because we are representing our communities around us. Being a low income, first generation college student, born to immigrant parents and discovering how some of the strong capitol leaders come from similar backgrounds as us, mesmerized me. Meeting Senator Raul Ruiz and discussing how hard times can be for Latinos made me realize how everyone on the trip wanted to help us discover not just more about global health, but to discover more about who we truly are.
This trip helped me learn about many different resources that are available to me whether it be career focused or education based. Thanks to this summit, I feel better prepared for my new journey in college, as well as for future journeys I will soon embark on in terms of my career.
See more photos from the GHYS here:
See Global Health Fellow's Program II's GHYS Photostory: