JUAN VALENTE RESENDEZ
Education: The University of Texas at Austin | BS, Public Health
“You have to be able to adapt.”
Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and organs. Juan Valente Resendez’s mother was diagnosed with it at his birth; it’s what made waiting rooms “a huge part” of his childhood.
“Going to the doctor’s office was a really normal thing for me,” he says. Now, it’s what might make him a better physician in his own right.
“I was able to get a pretty unique perspective,” says Juan, a first-generation college student who sometimes juggled two or three jobs to make ends meet. “It made me so much more empathetic and prepared me to be an advocate for people like my mom, who speak limited English, or who are low-income or are raising kids while facing health issues.”
Juan is passionate about increasing awareness of social determinants of health, and his experiences have inspired him to change what he sees as a fragmented healthcare system. “I want to develop effective delivery models that are mindful of the needs of our most at-risk patients,” he says. “I want to shake things up. As a physician, you have to be able to adapt. I feel like I’ve got some pretty good experience with that.”
Mentored: Peers participating in UT Austin’s Freshman Research Initiative
Served: As president of a chapter of Global Water Brigades, a role in which Juan planned a trip to Honduras to build a filtration system to deliver clean water to remote communities