I started my journey in life in the heart of Miami, where I was raised in a proud, hardworking Dominican-American family. Like many immigrant families, we did not have adequate access to health care nor did we understand the value of preventative care. At 16, I was not excelling in the traditional high school environment, and, with my mother’s support, I enrolled in a high school completion program. During this time, my family relocated to Charlotte, and it was at Central Piedmont Community College that I found my way into nursing. Shortly after completing my Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 2012, I became Baccalaureate prepared at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
My childhood and adolescent struggles with inadequate access to preventative services and my negative experiences in the health care system drove my desire to work with underserved populations, with the aim of providing positive, nonjudgmental care. I wanted to have a larger influence on patient outcomes, so in 2015, I chose DUSON to become a women’s health nurse practitioner.
During my Family Nurse Practitioner post-graduate certificate course work in 2018, I became very curious about a career in nursing science. Specifically, I wanted to learn more about how nursing research can reduce Latinx health disparities. During this time, I connected with associate professor, Dr. Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, and she invited me to work on her SER Hispano study for a semester. After working on SER Hispano, I fell in love with community-engaged research. Through this work, I was able to dispel my preconceived notions of researchers being confined to lab, and, most importantly, Dr. Gonzalez-Guarda allowed me to see the value that Latinx health care professionals bring to nursing science.
PhD students at DUSON receive comprehensive training in theoretical perspectives, statistics, and methodology, which will enable us to become well-rounded researchers prepared to lead intradisciplinary research initiatives. DUSON faculty brings a wealth of experience and expertise along with a genuine desire to develop students into successful nursing researchers. Mentorship, faculty support, small cohorts, software resources, librarian support and information sessions are just a few items in an extensive list of ways DUSON supports its PhD students. To me the most important resource is the unconditional support and encouragement we receive from one another, faculty, and staff.
I hope to become a leader in nursing science with a focus on the reduction of Latinx sexual and reproductive health disparities. I also would like to serve as an inspiration and mentor for the upcoming generation of minority health care researchers by demonstrating that our perspectives are desired and valuable.