2014 Equity Intern: Carolina Regalado

Regalado_Carolina_150As a pre-med student at Southern Oregon University, Carolina Regalado has been involved with the Latina Heath Coalition for the last four years. The Latina Health Coalition focuses on medical research to support the reduction in the high pregnancy rates among Latinas in Southern Oregon and to minimize the health problems attached to early parenting.

"As a coalition, we are working with Planned Parenthood and Oregon Health and Science University to better understand the roots of high-unplanned teen pregnancy rates among the Hispanic culture. Our hopes were to quickly and efficiently help reduce these overwhelming percentages," she says.

As part of her work with the Coalition, Carolina closely monitored focus groups research, surveys, mother-daughter retreats. I was also able to interview various teen mothers and fathers. Through the project, she became acquainted with faculty and staff at the OHSU School of Nursing, Ashland campus

"I had the opportunity to present a finished research project to my community, the Southern Oregon Planned Parenthood board, and research donors. Our presentation displayed our gained knowledge about teen pregnancy prevention. Today, we are working on expanding the coalition as a support system for Southern Oregon community members," she says.

Carolina also participated in a project called "Escuchando a Nuestros Jóvenes (Listening to Youth),"  OHSU's "Photovoice" study that explores Jackson County community's strengths and weaknesses as viewed by the Latino youth. The goal of the project is for Coalition members to better understand the experiences, beliefs and concerns related to teen pregnancy in the Latino community. Carolina participated in data collection, analysis and reporting findings back to the coalition and the community. Carolina continues to work with Coalition members on a manuscript outlining the experience working with youth for a submission to the journal Family and Community Health.

Her work with the Latina Health Coalition is only the latest in Carolina's lifelong commitment to serving the Latino community. Being bilingual and bicultural, she has experienced serving as an interpreter for family visits to the doctor on behalf of her parents and elders. As a future physician, she is focused on providing culturally competent care for her patient community.

"I know that many non-English speakers avoid attending the doctor out of fear and embarrassment, I hope to alleviate this problem by making my future practice an open and welcoming environment that accommodates English and non-English speakers alike," she says.

Carolina is spending part of her summer in Portland, as part of OHSU's highly selective Summer Equity Research Internship Program, which is administered by OHSU's Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Carolina is working with Victor DeFilippis, Ph.D., in the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute. She also has the opportunity to shadow Brintha Enestvedt, M.D., M.B.A., in the Department of Gastroenterology.

Interested in the Summer Equity Program? Contact David Martinez for more information.

Posted on July 3, 2014. Photo and write-up by Maileen Hamto.