Paola Felix Cuamea, graduated this Spring 2023 with her Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Systems Theory and Practice and a minor in Biochemistry. Paola served as a MEZCOPH Public Health Ambassador, an intern for Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud, and volunteered at a health clinic with Mex-Zona in Sonoyta and Rocky Point Mexico. She received the undergraduate Outstanding Public Health Service Award from the college.
I am deeply committed to promoting health equity, and my academic experiences have provided me with opportunities to work with underserved communities, which has reinforced my dedication to this cause.
Paola Felix Cuamea
BS Public Health with an emphasis in Health Systems Theory and Practice and a minor in Biochemistry
Paola earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Public Health with an emphasis in Health Systems Theory and Practice this Spring 2023. Throughout her undergraduate career, she served as an intern for Nosotros Comprometidos a Su Salud. In addition, she volunteered at a health clinic in Sonoyta and Rocky Point Mexico, worked as a tutor at Goodwill’s Metro Youth Program providing academic support to students seeking their GED or diploma, and volunteered at Z Mansion providing donated items and brunch to the unhoused population in Tucson. For her dedication to serving others and building health equity, Paola won the undergraduate 2023 Outstanding Public Health Service Award from the college.
Paola plans to apply to dental school and utilize her public health knowledge to mitigate healthcare barriers surrounding access to dental care. She was also actively involved in the DDS Pre-Dental Club – all while studying for the Dental Admissions Test to apply for dental school. Paola extends her gratitude to her MEZCOPH mentors, professors, colleagues, and her parent's unconditional love and support as she found her voice in public health and explored her individuality.
For this profile, we asked Paola about what she has learned during her undergraduate career at MEZCOPH and what inspires her about public health.
Q: Did you have a teacher or mentor who especially inspired you? How and why?
A: During my undergraduate experience, I was fortunate to have several professors who left a lasting impact on me. I would like to give a special shoutout to Dr. David Garcia, Dr. Priscilla Magrath, and Dr. Martha Monroy for teaching me so many valuable lessons through their courses and for showing their passion for their field. Their dedication and enthusiasm for their work inspired me to pursue my own goals and aspirations in my field of study. Their teachings and mentorship have had a significant impact on my personal and academic growth, and I am
grateful for the knowledge and skills I gained from them.
Q: What are some challenges or obstacles that you had to overcome in the process of your education in the college, or in the projects/programs in which you worked?
A: Time management was a challenge as an undergraduate student maintaining a 3.8+ GPA during 17+ credit semesters, working as a hospital receptionist and dental assistant, and my volunteering/internship commitments. However, at MEZCOPH I learned the importance of seeking help when needed, and by reaching out to professors, attending office hours, and scheduling appointments with academic advisors. With this support, I was able to overcome this obstacle and stay organized.
Q: How will your education and experience as a public health student influence your path forward?
A: My education and experience as a public health student will have a significant influence on my path forward. I am deeply committed to promoting health equity, and my academic experiences have provided me with opportunities to work with underserved communities, which has reinforced my dedication to this cause. I believe that the values of the MEZCOPH, such as fairness, trust, and social justice, are essential for achieving health equity.
I have learned to lead with compassion and take everything into account. As someone who is interested in becoming a dentist, I am particularly interested in mitigating healthcare barriers within oral care. I believe that oral health is a vital component of overall health and that access to dental care should be a fundamental right for all individuals. I will continue to practice the college’s mission and values while working towards achieving health equity at the individual and population levels.
Congratulations Paola on your BS in Public Health and your Service Award!