Shaili Patel
Spanish Department, Class of 2019

What are you doing now?
I am currently doing a one-year inter-discipline MPH at UC Berkeley, but I just finished my third year of medical school at UC Irvine. Because of VHIO, I found a program called PRIME-LC (Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community), which is a program that works with underserved Spanish-speaking communities, particularly in Southern California. I've been part of that since I left. 


What inspired you to join VHIO?
I've always been a language nerd. Spanish is not my native language, but I learned it in school and I really enjoyed it; I was a part of Spanish Honor Society. When I got to college, I wanted to find a way to use that, and I came across VHIO and I really wanted to use my Spanish to work with people who needed better quality healthcare. I was more than amazed by VHIO's decal and it taught me so much more than I could imagine. I haven't looked back since!


Has your experience in VHIO impacted your life today?
VHIO has heavily influenced the patient populations I want to work with & the skillsets I can provide & the perspectives I’ve gained about health & healthcare in general (I’m currently in UCI’s PRIME-LC Program that specifically works with underserved Latinx communities - so VHIO definitely prepared me for that & increased my interest). I owe VHIO a lot - its really shaped me as a person and my medical school journey


What’s something memorable about your experience in VHIO?
I feel like every person I met in VHIO was incredibly passionate. It may have been in different ways, but we all cared about the same cause and everyone was so open to learning about other cultures and languages, and it was something that was really special about this community. Everyone was so driven and so dedicated to the cause, and it was really kind of contagious. I loved meeting everyone from the different departments.


What advice would you give current VHIO members?
The more you get involved and the more ownership you take, the more enjoyment you will get and the more you will learn.

March 2023