I think the single most rewarding experience of my career has been being able to work with health interventions and individuals that support and empower underserved communities. The Salud Para Usted y Su Familia intervention I am currently working with has specifically been rewarding because it promotes health in colonias in south Texas, the same areas where my mother was raised. Being a first-generation Latina from a really small rural agricultural town, I’ve always been aware of Social Determinants of Health even though I never knew what they were prior to my exposure to the public health field. Being able to work on teams and individuals that are working towards solutions for underserved communities gives me hope that someday I can go back and serve the small towns that I grew up in.
I think one of the biggest challenges that the public health field should be focusing on should be addressing the multidimensional components of underserved communities. I think that addressing these multidimensional components and uniqueness across various types of underserved communities could aid in providing a more personalized approach to solutions for health disparity areas. This would also highlight the need for community-based participatory research and ensure that research, policy, and public health can empower and sustain communities effectively.