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Project STRIDE

We expose and engage high school students in clinical research.

2021 Project STRIDE Cohort 

Adam Barrios

My name is Adam Barrios. I am 17 years old a senior at King/Drew Medical Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. Project STRIDE interested me because this is an opportunity that will give me more insight into how clinical research adds to the research already done and in use in the medical field. By participating, I know that the research I am doing will significantly impact the communities I walk by, drive by, and thrive. I am interested in psychology and being a psychotherapist because there are so many kids, teenagers, and adults in communities that go through various traumatic events and don’t receive the help they need. We must help and assist our underdeveloped communities and provide them with tools and appropriate resources to assist them with their problems and guide them to appropriate paths.

Through Project STRIDE, I plan to take the knowledge and research that I do in this program and use it in other areas that may need it in the future. I am glad to be opening myself up to learning about diversity that expands deeper into our genetics, health, and history through clinical research. I know that Project STRIDE will give me the keys to success in the medical field and allow me to thrive in university as what I learn will be applied there.

Nayla Cardoso

My name is Nayla Cardoso, and I am an upcoming senior at King Drew Magnet High School of Medicine and Science. While I’m unsure of what I want to study and pursue as a career, I hope to impact the world in which we live positively.

Participating in Project STRIDE has given me a clear perspective on how important research is. I have been working alongside my mentor on a project that focuses on mental health in low-income communities. My personal experiences while living in South Los Angeles has helped me reflect on the needs of families, especially in healthcare.

Taylor Daniels

My name is Taylor Daniels, and I am a senior at King/Drew Medical Magnet High School. I am interested in pursuing a career of becoming an orthopedic surgeon or doctor.

Throughout my research with Project STRIDE, I plan to learn more about the origin of medical mistrust in the black and Latinx minority groups and how it affects everyone. Also, I am willing to find or learn how to overcome this mistrust between the two.

This program has provided an excellent opportunity for exposure to many different medical/ health field aspects that are not always available to many high school students. Even though I have a passion for becoming an orthopedic surgeon, learning how to do research properly is a great advantage for a well-performing doctor.

Roelvi Fuentes

My name is Roelvi Fuentes, and I am an upcoming senior at Piera Barbaglia Shaheen Health Services Academy (PBSHSA). I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical field. Throughout my time in PBSHSA, I have had opportunities to participate in health-related and non-health-related programs, of which I took advantage. The programs that I have attended have helped me figure out what I want to do with my life in the future.

This summer, I am participating in Project STRIDE at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science. I am collaborating with Dr. Yong Wu, a researcher, and member of the Department of Internal Medicine, who will be assisting me throughout our project. By the end of the program, I hope to have a good experience in clinical research with my mentor and intelligent students. 

Celeste Garcia

My name is Celeste Garcia. I am a rising senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School. I am excited and grateful to be part of Project STRIDE. Project STRIDE has opened my eyes to the variety of careers in healthcare and research.

In the future, I’m interested in pursuing a career in nursing because it seems like something that would be very rewarding. In addition, having opportunities like this helps me understand concepts and new ideas that will help me as I continue my education and career.

This summer, I enjoyed working with Dr. Wu on a project involving high glucose-induced breast cancer. I’m excited to be working on this project because it is interesting, and what he’s taught me so far has only inspired me to learn more about the subject and want to do more research. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be working with Project STRIDE

Tajuddin Henry

My name is Tajuddin Kamal Henry, and I am a soon to be senior at King/Drew Medical Magnet High School. I run track, and enjoy reading & martial arts. I’m, hopefully, a prospective UCLA or LSU student, though CDU also interests me. I’m interested in Sports Medicine, but Project Stride is opening my eyes to the world of public health. I was directly referred to Project Stride by Ms. Douglas, Dr. Kermah, and Dr. Fleming through the Hospital Careers program my school hosts. My research with Project Stride will hopefully continue my personal education on the topic of medical mistreatment and mistrust within the African American community, and the paths necessary to change or lessen the curve on the disparities we face. I think this program, generally, is a good preview of what it’s like to work in the medical field, and gives us a taste of something we aren’t used to. Educating us on how to properly research, write and study topics, along with accessing medical resources is a great opportunity.

Yareli Juarez

My name is Yareli Juarez. I am a rising senior at Piera Barbaglia Shaheen Health Services Academy. During my time participating in Project STRIDE, I realized the significance of being under-resourced and its impact on my family and my home of Watts South Central.

I was allowed to work with very admirable people this summer to explore and participate in a series of projects that focused on helping Watt’s citizens access necessities such as the COVID-19 vaccine and access to help with mental, physical, or emotional health. As I begin to pursue my profession as an OBGYN, I believe this to be a necessary and crucial part of my growth as a physician.

Though I did not specifically work with women in their path to motherhood, I gained excellent knowledge that will help me advocate for mental health and enlighten those around me to decimate the spread of the COVID-19 virus in everyone throughout my community of Watts, Los Angeles.

Heidy Marcelino

My name is Heidy Marcelino, and I am an uprising senior at King Drew Medical Magnet High School. This summer opportunity caught my attention through the lens of exploration as a student, wanting to explore the research experience. So, my inspiration lies in the people with whom I surround myself. I will explore and learn about the health disparity regarding current vaccine hesitancy surrounding COVID-19, specifically in public housing.

As a public housing resident, witnessing the results of health disparities seen among minority groups, I have yet to educate and advocate for these communities on a deeper level.

Through my research in Project STRIDE, I plan to explore the variety of aspects involved with healthcare and underlying factors among hesitancy in different elements of underserved, vulnerable communities. In addition, I will advocate for underprivileged people to find collective reasoning to engage with safety in vaccination, which is vital for health. 

Viridiana Morales-Hernandez

My name is Viridiana Morales-Hernandez. I am an upcoming senior at Alliance Pierra Barbaglia Shaheen Health Services Academy High School. When I was younger, I had little to no interest in medicine as my future job; but once I started looking at different career options in my school, my interest began to develop related to the health field.

Growing up in Los Angeles, I have seen the disadvantages of Spanish-speaking communities in health care. This disadvantage is an issue that I aspire to change and help those that may need a fluent bilingual speaker like myself. In the country we live in, minorities are a considerable part of our country, and they need to have representation in the health field.

The career I want to pursue is to be a labor and delivery nurse. This nursing field interests me because I want to be able to witness the new generation and bring them into the world safely. Even though I’m not interested in pursuing a career in research, Project Stride has opened my eyes to new career opportunities that were unknown to me. Now I can see the fundamental importance of research. Without research, we would not have the sufficient knowledge we need as it relates to medicine.

Amiee Padilla

My name is Amiee Padilla, and I am a rising senior at South Gate High School. My most considerable ambition is to pursue a profession in the medical field as a surgeon because of the exposure and knowledge I have gained related to their work. Moreover, there is always something new to learn and look forward to in a career as such. This information has driven me to take a deeper dive into other aspects of medicine, such as learning about new developments, research, and disparities present in underserved communities.

The leading factor that led me to participate in Project STRIDE is because, before this experience, I never had any exposure to research. I knew that if I ever wanted to fill gaps in knowledge and positively make a difference in how the healthcare field functions, learning about research would be vital to my education. Various obstacles are faced by medical professionals and patients as well, and to take steps forward to aid and overcome these struggles, we must pose questions relating to these issues and use research to overcome them. Research is not only a tool that is used to explore unanswered questions but also used to address facts and shed light on prominent matters in healthcare and medicine.

In my exploration in research this summer, I have realized that there is a pressing issue in underserved communities for patients. Many of them do not have access to medical resources and physicians to treat their conditions throughout service planning areas in Los Angeles County. There is no doubt that this is a problem that health officials should address. What can we do to solve this matter and make it so that every service planning area has adequate and equal administration of health care and services? With my research, I can gain knowledge in a visible disparity present, and as an advocate, I choose to speak up and spread awareness so that changes can be made. 

2021 Project STRIDE II

Priya Jayesh Bhavsar

My name is Priya Jayesh Bhavsar, and I am a rising sophomore at the University of California, Los Angeles. I am studying Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology to become a Pediatric Oncologist/Hematologist. I hope to earn a combined MD/Ph.D degree because I am interested in researching oncology and hematology. My passion for this field stems from the personal struggles of my father, who is battling Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. Seeing the mental and physical toll, it has taken on my father has inspired me to pursue a career in which I can make a plausible impact on the lives of people and their families who are battling similar battles as my father.

In 2019, I participated in the Project STRIDE I program. I had the fantastic opportunity to work with Dr. Pervin, who specializes in breast cancer. I am working with her lab again as an undergraduate student. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions, I cannot work in the lab as I was able to in high school, so this year I am performing literary reviews on papers about tumor growth inhibition and providing an in-depth summary of multiple clinical trials.

In the future, I hope to be practicing medicine in the clinical setting and continuing to conduct research and better the treatment options available. 

Raul Luis

My name is Raul Luis, and I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of California, Berkeley (GO BEARS!!). I am now going into my second year of studying environmental engineering.

I was part of the 2019 cohort of Project STRIDE during high school, where I studied disparities of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis usage between different racial and ethnic groups. My experience researching goes back a little further since I also researched International Health disparities for the Medical Careers Program at King/Drew Magnet-High School.

This summer, I am working with Dr. Noe Chavez on a study about Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) and its effects on the participant’s mental health by conducting a systematic review of studies that have implemented YPAR in their design. This study would assess the effectiveness of YPAR in closing the gap between mental health services and youth patients that is a result of the age differences between youth patients and professionals.

My goal for the future is to be involved in the research and development of clean water technologies. Project STRIDE II has been an excellent opportunity to refine my research skills and experience conducting research that has been the next step in my educational career.

Akali Warmsley

My name is Akali Warmsley. I am an undergraduate student in the Project STRIDE program. I am currently going into my sophomore year at the University of California Davis. My major is in animal science, and I plan to become a veterinarian in the future.

My participation in Project STRIDE in high school introduced me to research, taught me how to be more confident in my work, and pushed me to have an even more demanding work ethic. In addition, doing research has given me a greater understanding of problem-solving and has enlightened me on what it will take to be successful.

As an undergraduate student, Project STRIDE has increased my public health knowledge and the significant disparities in my community. I hope to integrate the research and knowledge I obtained in Project STRIDE I and II in my future career as a veterinarian.

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