Student Leader Stands Up for Diversity
Fernando Mena-Carrasco knows no limits when it comes to advocating for Hispanic and vulnerable populations across the world. In pursuit of his BSN-MSN degree with plans of becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist, he has long been a champion to the Latino population in which he finds his roots.
In 2011, Mena worked as a case and clinic manager of a primary care center in Saint Louis, using his background in social work to help Latino American immigrants find primary and HIV/AIDS care. “I really began to understand the barriers that the Latino population faces when trying to make their way in the U.S., and I wanted to make a difference,” he says. It was also through his involvement with Medicines for Humanity, a non-profit committed to serving poverty-stricken communities, that he was able to make recommendations to government and hospital officials in the Dominican Republic regarding ways to lower child mortality rates.
Now, at Johns Hopkins, Mena assists the JHSON’s Center for Global Initiatives and the PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center by helping to develop and implement programs that strengthen the school’s global ties. Not only has he been instrumental in managing the redesigned Global Alliance for Nursing and Midwifery blogs hosted by the JHSON, but he has revamped the web presence of the International Council on Women’s Health Issues and co-spearheaded a campaign to enhance diversity and inclusion at the school, earning him the 2015 Johns Hopkins Diversity Award.
Mena says one of the best ways to help the Hispanic population is by having a voice and a seat at the table. “Within the next five years, I want to pursue my doctorate degree and further expand my reach as a clinician. It’s critical that we create open dialogue among communities and professions, actively advocate for policies and procedures to improve health, and that we use nursing to pave the way to healthcare innovation.”