וֹHola y bienvenidos a todos! My name is Daniela, and I’m honored to be part of UCLA’s Minority Housestaff Organization. I come from a small town in western Pennsylvania, just an hour outside of Pittsburgh. I went to a small state college called Indiana University of Pennsylvania where I got a full scholarship to complete my undergraduate degree Biology with minors in Mathematics and Chemistry.
After graduating college, I moved down to Guatemala to reconnect with my culture and work at a pediatric oncology hospital. This hospital was one of the only hospitals in the country that effectively treated children with cancer, so I met folks who came from every part of the country and from all walks of life. I was inspired by the strength of the tiny humans I cared for every day and truly got to experience the privilege it is to care for other people. I obtained my dual citizenship with Guatemala while I was living there, and I came back to the United States with an entirely different perspective of the kind of provider I wanted to become and the patient population I wanted to serve.
After coming back to the US, I used the 7+ years of restaurant experience I had and ran a fine dining restaurant as the front house manager and head bartender for two more years while I studied for the MCAT and applied to medical school. I ended up choosing to attend the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. While in Pittsburgh, I worked to help run a free clinic for folks who were underinsured or uninsured with a large majority of that population speaking Spanish as their primary language.
Community is a word that hold huge importance in my life because the different communities that have supported me throughout my journey. Now that I’m part of the MHO, I feel I’ve found another community within medicine that not only supports me as a person but also fuels my passion for creating a more equitable healthcare system overall.
When I’m not at work, you can usually find me exploring new food spots in different neighborhoods around LA, lounging at the beach with a good book and speaker for music, checking out a local farmers market, or grabbing a drink with friends at the dive bar near my house.