David was a Wisconsin Population Health Service Fellow from 2005 to 2007, with a placement at the City of Milwaukee Health Department. He earned his MPH in Health Policy and Management from the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston in 2004 and completed a Doctorate in Health Education and Behavior from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York City in 2013.
Upon completing the Fellowship in 2007, David accepted a position in Seattle, Washington, working for the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, where he conducted community education for clinical trials with the Seattle HIV Vaccine Trials Unit. The desire to pursue his doctorate brought David to Columbia University in New York City. While at Columbia, David also worked as a Research Fellow for the Research Group on Health Disparities at Teachers College. In this position, he explored innovative Internet-based methods to diffuse safer sex and HIV prevention messages targeting men who have sex with men. David is looking forward to presenting the results from this study at the United States Conference on AIDS (USCA) in San Diego in October 2014.
Currently, David still resides in New York City, where he is an administrator for a community health center that advocates for and provides culturally competent health care services for underserved and vulnerable people, especially Asian and Pacific Islanders, the LGBT community, and individuals living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. In addition, he is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Health Education for the City University of New York (CUNY) in the Bronx. His experience in the Bronx gives him the opportunity to develop his teaching skills and further fuels his passion to educate and empower young students of color. As a queer Latino, he also possesses a vested interest in serving his communities as a mentor, role model, and leader to better bridge their educational and health gaps.
In terms of personal updates, David is disappointed to report that his planned marriage to Ricky Martin did not come to fruition. He welcomes any current or former Fellows to introduce him to their gay colleagues or family members who are interested in “an educated Latino who likes long walks in the city, talks about gender politics, and science fiction.”
David’s advice for current or prospective Fellows? “Absorb everything! Do not be afraid to ask questions, and do not get tied down with bureaucratic processes or office politics. Think about a project you want to work on and make it happen. This might mean you have to get out into the community or constantly remind your mentor. Most importantly, always stay focused on the experience as a learning tool, and it will transform you as it did me.”