UH Med Now

ʻEwa Beach native, first in his family to go to college, wins prestigious National Health Service Corps Scholarship

Date: October 14th, 2019 in Donors, Giving, JABSOM News, Rural, Student Life    Print or PDF

Jester Galiza portrait

Pictured: Jester Galiza works with a manikin during a patient simulation session at JABSOM. Vina Cristobal photo.

Campbell High School graduate, the son of immigrants, is a leader, serving his second year as MD Class of 2022 President.

By Deborah Manog Dimaya, UH Med Now Correspondent

Jester Galiza, second-year medical student at the John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM), has just received a highly competitive and prestigious scholarship. The National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship will cover 100% of the remainder of his tuition at the University of Hawaiʻi (UH) medical school. This year the NHSC awarded 200 scholarships, out of 1,889 applicants that include students pursuing primary health careers such as primary care physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants.

Galiza is no stranger to overcoming limitations. He grew up in the historically underrepresented community of ʻEwa Beach and is a first-generation college student whose parents immigrated to Hawaiʻi from the Philippines. He earned his entry to JABSOM by successfully completing the challenging ʻImi Hoʻōla Post-Baccalaureate Program, a preparatory course for college graduates aspiring to enter medical school from underserved communities or disadvantaged backgrounds. Now, the MD 2022 Candidate says he looks forward to becoming a testament to what is possible for someone like him.

“Representation matters because the lack of representation in medicine and among people in power is harmful, especially to our most marginalized populations. Ultimately, I hope that my presence in the community inspires those that share similar aspects of my story and identity to pursue the highest level of their potential,” said Galiza.

From a young age, Galiza was motivated by teachers, family and friends who believed in him. He says owes his success to his community and says it was gratitude– gratitude for their constant encouragement, that pushed him to excel throughout his lifetime.

The James Campbell High School alumnus graduated with honors as valedictorian, class president and member of the Navy Junior ROTC. He went on to receive his BA in Biology from Dartmouth College, a private ivy league university, and taught for a few years at his high school alma mater through Teach for America. He later served as a mentor for new Teach for America corps members on Hawaiʻi Island and earned a Master’s degree in Education at UH Mānoa before entering medical school and now leading his peers as the President of the JABSOM MD Class of 2022.

Looking ahead, Galiza is excited to become a primary care physician and to serve the people of Hawaiʻi.

“As a future physician, I am looking forward to partnering with my patients, their families, their communities, and the stakeholders involved in their holistic well-being. Leveraging my socioeconomic and historical background along with my passions for health policy, advocacy and activism, I hope to have a sustainable impact on my patients both within and beyond the four walls of the clinic,” said Galiza.

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