I had just gotten out of a five-year relationship when I came to the Center to get tested for HIV nearly a decade ago. It was the first time I had ever been tested in my life.
I was sitting in the lobby and was so scared. Then I looked at the wall and saw a plaque dedicated to Pedro Zamora who I remembered from The Real World in the 90s. When I was a kid, I identified with Pedro because he was a person of color who was advocating for health care for people like him. It was the first time I had ever seen a person who looked like me and whom I could identify with. Seeing the plaque made me feel safe and that the Center was a place that would understand me.
I got tested and said to myself, “Someday I’m going to work here.” I started volunteering and, after applying several times, I finally got a job in Health Services where I work in operations.
When someone registers for services, my job is to make it easier for them to be linked into care and to make it easier for my team of clinic liaisons—the staff who are the first point of contact when anyone calls or walks into the Center—to do their jobs. We want our patients to feel at ease.
Hometown: Hollister, California
Year Started Working at the Center: 2013
Staff Position: Health Services Business Office Manager