Hometown: Chiapa, Colima, Mexico
Career Plans: To work in an underserved community with a large Hispanic population.
We have such a diverse community and patient population at the Dugoni School and I just want to help improve the cultural awareness here.
Diversity — this is a concept that Juan Ramirez, DDS Class of 2019, is really passionate about. As a Mexican immigrant and first-generation college student, he's turning his passion into leadership roles and helping to build cultural awareness at the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.
Juan is the president and founder of the El Dentista Club. During his first year, he researched Spanish-language clubs at the school and was shocked to find out that none existed. "We have a high Hispanic population at the school and a lot of our patients speak Spanish," recalls Juan. "I decided to start a club because I thought it'd be an important skill that my classmates could benefit from."
The club helps students and faculty learn medical terminology and other important words and phrases applicable to the practice of dentistry. Juan's hope is to help members to develop their skills in Spanish so that they can have better patient relationships and give the best care possible.
"I think El Dentista Club has been pretty successful so far," says Juan. "Students are finding it really helpful in treating their Spanish-speaking patients in the clinic."
Juan also started the Dugoni School's first-ever Hispanic Student Dental Association. This organization focuses on providing oral health screenings, preventative care and education in the Hispanic community. For Juan, it's not just about helping the Hispanic community, but providing help to all historically underserved groups.
"It's more than just helping the underserved population," says Juan. "I want to be a motivation for Hispanics and other minorities to see what I'm doing and encourage and guide them to go into the oral health field."
As if being involved in these organizations wasn't enough, Juan is part of the Student National Dental Association, which promotes and supports the academic and social environment of minority students in the field of dentistry, as well as a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, whose goal is to improve diversity and cultural awareness at the Dugoni School.
For all of his efforts to bring awareness of and support for diversity at the Dugoni School, Juan was selected as one of the winners of Pacific's Champion of Diversity and Inclusion Award, which recognizes a student, staff or faculty member who has gone above and beyond their role to support diversity and inclusion work on Pacific's campuses in Stockton, San Francisco and Sacramento.
"As diverse as our school community and patient population is, there are always ways to improve diversity and cultural awareness," says Juan. "I want to continue to foster this [inclusive] culture through these organizations and also through community outreach."