Karina Diaz is completing her PhD in molecular and cellular biology and transitioning back to medicine as a third-year medical student at the University of Washington School of Medicine (UW SOM). Her devotion and enthusiasm to providing quality healthcare to the underserved Latinx community have pushed her to pursue a career in both medicine and research in academia so she can contribute as an individual and inspire others to do the same.
Karina grew up in San Bruno, California as the eldest of four daughters to immigrant parents. As a first-generation Mexican-American college graduate, she is also the first in her family to pursue a doctorate degree. Graduating from Capuchino High School as the salutatorian, she continued her education at UC Davis majoring in microbiology. While at UC Davis, she became a student leader in organizations like Minorities Over Borders (MOB) Legacy, where she helped share her Latinx culture through dance, and Clinica Tepati, a student-run free clinic that focused on providing free health care to the Latinx community of Sacramento.
During her time in medical and graduate school, Karina has continued to stay involved with the Latinx community both in Washington and California through her leadership and mentorship as part of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). In addition, she helped teach the medical Spanish course on campus and worked to establish and manage a peer-tutoring program for the UW SOM that was directed towards aiding and understanding the needs of medical students of color. Karina plans to continue her work in academics as a teacher, doctor, and a researcher in the hopes of providing quality health care to the Latinx population, rousing others to work with the underserved communities, and perform life-saving research that keeps the Latinx needs in mind.