Alec, (Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians), believes our culture gives us a greater sense of self – a connection to our land, our ancestors. However, we come from different walks of life, and some Native youth may not be familiar with the traditional knowledge of their people. We must be cognizant of that fact, and support efforts that revitalize these lost cultural, physical, and spiritual connections. As a We R Native Youth Ambassador, I will bring unending empathy to the relationships that I foster and maintain across Indian Country.
One thing I am passionate about is My life’s greatest passion is working to reduce and eliminate the health inequities that exist within our tribal communities. For years, I did not use my voice. That changed when I moved to Washington, DC. There, I got comfortable with being uncomfortable, and became an outspoken advocate for the unmet health needs of Native youth. Working with the National Indian Health Board as part of their inaugural Tribal Youth Health Advisory Board, I have focused my advocacy efforts on education, substance abuse prevention, childhood obesity and diabetes.. I am from Pauma, the place where there is water. The Pauma Band of Luiseño Indians is situated in Northern San Diego County, and was officially established in 1893. Our tribal members are committed to the promotion of education and pride in our heritage and community. Trading the West Coast for the Sonoran Desert, I graduated cum laude from the University of Arizona in 2016 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and Biology, minoring in Biochemistry. Now home to pursue my M.D.-Ph.D. at UC San Diego School of Medicine, I am poised to mentor the next generation of Native youth in San Diego County, especially those who are interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics (STEAM).