Fitz Hall
By Michael Haederle

Culturally Responsive Care

UNM Medical Student Awarded Prestigious Oliver Goldsmith, MD, Scholarship

Eliana Garcia, who recently started her fourth year in The University of New Mexico School of Medicine, is one of a dozen medical students selected from across the country for the prestigious Oliver Goldsmith, MD, Scholarship from the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Residency and Fellowship Programs.

Garcia is the first UNM student to receive the $5,000 scholarship, named for the longtime medical director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group. The award also includes an opportunity for mentorship from a Kaiser Permanente physician.

“The scholarship is for students who are interested in improving health care for the underserved and doing it with culturally responsive care,” said Garcia, a native of Bogota, Colombia, who graduated from high school in Carlsbad, N.M., before enrolling in UNM’s Combined BA/MD Degree Program.


Eliana Garcia, MS IV
The scholarship is for students who are interested in improving health care for the underserved and doing it with culturally responsive care
β€” Eliana Garcia, MS IV

She applied for the scholarship in January and took part in a virtual awards ceremony earlier this month.

Garcia attributes much of her success in applying for the scholarship to her work as lead coordinator for Healers for Tomorrow (H.O.T.), an internship program sponsored by the Native Health Initiative, led by Anthony Fleg, MD, associate professor in the UNM Department of Family & Community Medicine.

The H.O.T. program enlists high school students who are interested in health care careers, 70 percent of whom are from Native American communities, said Garcia, who mentored a student from Zia Pueblo and helped lead an initiative to donate 4,000 masks to the community, along with cleaning supplies and care packages for children during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m passionate about it,” she said of her work with the program. “That’s how you really excel, when you go into something that you’re really passionate about.”

Garcia said she was inspired to learn the Goldsmith scholarship’s goals closely align with her own. “I would like to embrace culturally responsive care,” she said. “It’s a revolutionary thing that’s going to be taking over medicine. It should be how we practice.”

Garcia, who earned a BS in psychology with a minor in chemistry and a BA in biology with a minor in health, medicine and human values, prior to starting medical school, hopes to do her residency in obstetrics and gynecology. “I’m really passionate about women’s health,” she says.

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