Pride Foundation is excited to announce the establishment of the Vazquez Pride in Health Fund.
The new scholarship fund was born out of the generosity and vision of young Dr. Benjamin Vazquez, a former Pride Foundation Scholar who is in his early thirties. The Fund will support students pursing advanced health care degrees.
“[These] degrees can be lonely and daunting as they are traditionally very conservative fields,” says Dr. Vazquez. While there is no denying that support systems for LGBTQ students in the ways of policies, procedures, and networks have developed more recently, that hasn’t always been the case. And depending on where and what field you study, the experience can still be difficult for LGBTQ students.
“Receiving Pride Foundation Scholarships during medical school meant more than just obvious sorely needed financial assistance,” says Dr. Vazquez. “Support from Pride Foundation meant that leaders in my community believed in me, and this support could not have come at a more important time in my life. It picked me up and helped me reaffirm my mission and goals.”
As a new practicing dermatologist at The Vancouver Clinic, Dr. Vazquez wants to give back. Raised in a small community in central Washington, Dr. Vazquez is particularly interested in supporting students from rural areas. Students from rural communities often experience a lack of medical facilities and a lack of opportunities. In addition, there is a general lack of understanding of rural health conditions. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, about 20 percent of the United States population—more than 50 million people—live in rural locations, while only 9 percent of the nation’s physicians practice there.
As is true in many communities where institutional resources are scarce, individuals in the community step up to fill those gaps. The Vazquez Pride in Health Fund is the ninth addition to Pride Foundation’s scholarship funds focused on students in healthcare. “I think it says something having come full circle from a scholarship recipient now to a donor,” remarks Dr. Vazquez. “I hope it provides an example for future scholars. I want to encourage them to remember their communities that helped them achieve their goals. All of us should be ready to give back in whatever way we can and in whatever way we see fit.”
Pride Foundation supports leaders who continue to advance the LGBTQ community. We are proud to see all of the ways our scholars have given back and continue to do so. Thank you, Dr. Benjamin Vazquez!