Together We Rise! Reflections on Election Results


NPR article highlights concerns of undocumented medical students if Trump wins

Denisse Rojas at Icahn School of Medicine and Cesar from Stritch School of Medicine share their thoughts on the impact of a Trump Presidency to undocumented students in medical school.

Check out the news piece by NPR “‘Dreamers’ In Med School Worry About Future if Trump Wins”


Providing Health Care to Undocumented Students: Program details and lessons learned by three CA health programs

Our Pre-Health Dreamers founding member, Denisse Rojas, recently published a report through the UC Berkeley Labor Center on health care access for undocumented immigrants. To read the full report click here.

SB 1139 Pre-Health Dreamers Press Release




Contact: Regem Corpuz, Policy Advocate,, and

Angela Chen, Director,


Los Angeles, California (28th September, 2016) – Among a slew of legislation signed in California, Governor Brown has signed a historic bill in California that will make all students eligible for health services professional programs, regardless of immigration status, granting access to existing state funds to invest in their education.

SB 1139, authored by Senator Lara, will allow existing funds and programs for health services professionals in California to accept such an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN), if applicants cannot provide a Social Security Number (SSN). Moreover, none of the programs below can discriminate an applicant on the basis of their immigration/citizenship status:

  • Programs under the Health Professions Education Fund
  • Registered Nurse Education Fund
  • Mental Health Practitioner Education Fund
  • Vocational Nurse Education Fund
  • The Medically Underserved Account for Physicians
  • Loan forgiveness and Scholarship programs
  • Song-Brown Healthcare Workforce Training Programs

In addition to opening these existing programs to students regardless of immigration status, all medical degree and healing arts residency training programs cannot deny an applicant admission on the basis of their immigration or citizenship status.

This law serves as a huge victory and relief for many undocumented students seeking to pursue a career in a health service profession. “Health professional schools require tremendous financial resources from anyone who decides to pursue these paths”, says Marcela Zhou- currently a 2nd year medical student at the UCLA PRIME program.  “As undocumented health professional students, we are shunned from many traditional funding sources and constantly worry about how we will secure the funding for our education. SB1139, now signed into law, lessens some of those worries, allowing undocumented students to focus on becoming the best health professionals they can be for their communities”. Erick Leyva, Institutional Advocate for Pre-Health Dreamers agrees, “We are glad to see Governor Brown sign this important legislation, as it removes hurdles for immigrant students pursuing their desired health career”.

As SB 1139 is soon to be implemented, California has taken a step forward in removing the barrier immigration status plays into admission or funding opportunities for health professional education programs. By opening this opportunity for immigrant students in California, the state will encourage prospective health professionals who come from communities facing large health disparities. This opens new possibilities for immigrant students to provide the adequate and appropriate services these communities need. SB 1139 is historic, not only for immigrant students, but for the health of all Californians.

SB-1139 Press-Release Pre-Health-Dreamers (350 downloads)

Denisse Rojas receives The Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans

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Sumbul SiddiquiMeet Sumbul Siddiqui, former Neuroscience student at Agnes Scott College, 15’ seeking to pursue a career in medicine. Last June Sumbul was granted advanced parole and was enabled to travel to Pakistan to meet her relatives for the first time in two decades and was even awarded a Project for Peace Award for the work she and her partner were able to accomplish.

Sumbul’s proposal for the Davis Projects for Peace Program was created with the goal of establishing a computer lab and library room to give the students and teachers of Iqra Islamia School a platform for learning, and through the internet, sharing their ideas with a larger community. The amazing work Sumbul contributed to as a part of her project paved an opportunity for Sumbul to not only learn more of her Pakistani heritage, but also to empower the instructors of Iqra Islamia School with technology and training in programs such as powerpoint that will improve the education of the local community for years to come.

From the words of Sumbul: “I’ve learned through this project in Pakistan that we often take the tiniest things for granted in life, and the most important thing that molds us as to who we are today comes from our education. Our understanding of one another comes from the quality of education that we receive, and when we are equipped with the necessary tools, we can promote peace and understanding amongst each other.”

Relive her journey through her project’s blog PakiProject4Peace2015 and official report.

New PHD Director Spotlight

Dr. Angela Chuan-Ru Chen

Dr. Angela Chuan-Ru Chen

Please join us in welcoming Dr. Angela Chuan-Ru Chen as the new Pre-Health Dreamers Project Director! Angela was selected among a competitive applicant pool based on her strong experience as an educator to undocumented college students, her motivations to engage in institutional advocacy efforts, and her relevant educational background. Having been undocumented herself for 16 years, her experiences as an undocumented student throughout her undergraduate career has been an influence for her passion to support the undocumented student community.

Angela most recently worked as the Director of the Undocumented Student Program at UCLA which served over 500 undocumented students, launched new programming, and built resources across campus departments to better serve undocumented students. We’re confident these skills will help her serve the pre-health undocumented community.

Additionally, Angela‘s institutional advocacy includes leading University of California system-wide efforts to increase awareness about policies that impact undocumented students and guiding universities across the nation to develop support programs for undocumented youth. Angela‘s experience in improving institutional practices will expand PHD’s efforts to increase access to health careers for the undocumented community.

Moreover, Angela completed academic training in UCLA’s Graduate School of Education which will strengthen PHD’s mission and strategic planning to engage in effective and impactful work.

Kaiser Child Health Program Offers Coverage in California

Undocumented children under the age of 19 can sign up for Kaiser Permanente’s Child Health Program, which would give them medical, dental, vision and mental health coverage. 

The deadline to apply for coverage for this year is March 31.

Kaiser Child Health Plan

Find out more and download the application here:

Recordings of the CaHPSA and ASBH Conferences are LIVE!

On October 26, 2013, Pre-Health Dreamers were out in full force presenting at three different and separate venues on the topics of health careers and health care for the undocumented community! Recordings of TWO of the THREE sessions are now LIVE and can be accessed below.


1.) The CaHPSA NorCal Conference

Presenters: Steve Li and Carol’s Montes

2.) The American Society for Bioethics and Humanities 2013 Meeting

Presenter: New Latthivongskorn (in Part 2 Only)

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Pre-Health Dreamers Divide & Conquer

Pre-Health Dreamers Divide & Conquer

This Fall, Pre-Health Dreamers is going all-hands-on-deck as we go out to many conferences and panels to continue speaking up as undocumented, aspiring health professionals! Follow our progress on Facebook and Twitter. Chime in! We’d love your support.

ASBH conference Oct 2013


PHD will be participating in a panel titled “The Courage to Educate: Undocumented Medical Students” in which Loyola University will present and discuss their historic decision to accept undocumented students into Stritch School of Medicine.

UCI LMSA Conference Oct 2013


Pre-Health Dreamers will be presenting on the barriers that exist for undocumented pre-medical students.

CaHPSA NorCal conference Oct 2013


PHD will be speaking on the “Intersections of Immigration & Health Care”–detailing how the historic ACA will or will not (read:it won’t) help insure undocumented immigrants, as well as the health care options that are available in light of these exclusions.