Looking Forward with university Multicultural Leaders
Robby Tierstein – Contributor
The university Multicultural Leaders meet to discuss ongoing health concerns in the New Haven area.
Sara Bernal-Garcia, a junior in the traditional BSM nursing program, joined the club this semester because she said she felt “impacted by their mission to provide cultural diversity in the healthcare system.”
According to Garcia, this club intends on “creating a safe space for people to come and talk to each other.”
“I’ve always wanted to help people and I’ve always been interested in healthcare,” said Bernal-Garcia. “I know nursing is a very empathetic and trustworthy career and I’ve always wanted to do something to help others, especially those who are sick.”
Melissa Lopez, a fifth-year student, is the vice president of the Multicultural Leaders. She became interested in this position after hearing about it from the current club president. Lopez was the club secretary but filled in as vice president after the previous one stepped down for personal reasons.
“I really liked what goals this organization had for bringing awareness about health care disparities to campus and the community,” said Lopez.
Lopez said she has “always had a love of science, medicine, and the complexity of it all.”
Lopez said she was drawn to nursing because she “wanted to make a difference in someone’s life by being there for them during a moment of vulnerability that can also be scary for some people.”
Lopez said that club members were able “to have a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we were able to donate proceeds to the CT Breast Cancer Initiative.”
“This club has a lot of potential in becoming a good resource for first-generation students, or anyone interested in having important conversations about health disparities while feeling like a part of something,” said Lopez.
Nursing major Brianna Alexandria Fredericks, a senior, is the president of this club. She said she joined it a year ago to address the issue concerning the “disproportionate population of African Americans or people of color in the program.”
“I wanted to make sure that people in the program and in healthcare studies were represented,” said Fredericks. “I wanted to be part of this club to make sure that we were having important conversations and feeling heard and represented in our respective professions.”
“We are also having conversations about things that are not in class,” said Fredericks.
Fredericks became the president of the Multicultural Leaders after the pandemic significantly altered club membership.
“Post-COVID, it was extremely hard to have in person clubs because those past seniors and e-board members had just left and there was no follow-up because of COVID,” said Fredericks.
Fredericks said last year was about rebuilding from the bottom.
“At that point, it was just the e-board and maybe two other people,” said Fredericks. “So, it wasn’t hard for me to become a secretary last year. From the work I’ve done last year, I was in a good spot to be passed the torch as president.”