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UCSF medical student Javier Galvan awarded a prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

April 19, 2017

Javier Galvan, a third-year medical student at UCSF and a veteran, was selected as a 2017 Paul & Daisy Soros Fellow in recognition of his dedication and efforts already demonstrated in social justice and improving healthcare equity.

The Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans is a graduate school fellowship for outstanding immigrants and children of immigrants in the U.S. Selected from 1,775 applicants, this year’s 30 recipients were chosen for their potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society in their academic field and will receive up to $90,000 in funding for the graduate program of their choice over two years.

"At a time when the national conversation seems to be on what immigrants are taking away, we are putting the spotlight on what immigrants from diverse backgrounds contribute to the United States,” said Craig Harwood, who directs the Fellowship program.

Galvan will join the prestigious community of recipients from past years, which includes individuals such as U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Chief Scientist of Artificial Intelligence at GoogleCloud Fei-Fei Li, Lieutenant Governor of Washington Cyrus Habib, leading American Civil Liberties Union attorney Nusrat Choudhury, award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang, and nearly 600 other New American leaders.

"It is an honor to become a Paul and Daisy Soros Fellow,” says Galvan. “I join a remarkable community of new Americans who devote their lives to advancing equity in our society. This award gives me the peace of mind to focus on medicine and my interest in working with youth from underserved communities."

Galvan grew up in underserved communities, moving between Mexico and California. A civics class in high school motivated him to join the U.S. Marine Corps, which gave him the stability to find his passion: medicine. He deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009.

Now a student in the dual-degree Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved (PRIME-US) at UCSF, Galvan is pursuing an MD and a master’s of public health degree. He uses his position as a first-generation medical student to motivate low-income students in the Bay Area to pursue a career in medicine through his work in various pipeline programs. Galvan plans to become a U.S. legislator in the future.

“Javier is one of the most innovative, principled, and resourceful individuals I have ever met.  I feel confident that he will make invaluable contributions to society as a physician-leader dedicated to community empowerment, social justice, and health equity,” says Leigh Kimberg, MD, UCSF Professor of Medicine and Program Director of PRIME-US.

During his first year of medical school, Galvan participated in a PRIME-US service-learning project developed in partnership with Katherine Flores, MD and the Junior Doctor’s Academy at the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research in Fresno, California. In his first formal teaching experience, Galvan demonstrated remarkable leadership skills in the education and mentorship of young people from under-resourced communities.  He is a powerful mentor who inspires young students to learn about civil liberties and civil rights as a mode of empowerment.

Hungarian immigrants Daisy M. Soros and Paul Soros (1926-2013) founded the Fellowship program in 1997. Find more information about the Fellowships and notable alumni here.

Learn more about Galvan’s achievements as noted on the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships website, and read about previous UCSF students who received Paul & Daisy Soros fellowships.