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Fall 2021 Hoggatt Injury Law Children of Injured Workers Scholarship Winner

Aden Gebremedhin

Aden Gebremedhin

Hoggatt Injury Law is pleased to announce Aden Gebremedhin as the first recipient of our Children of Injured Workers Scholarship, which provides $1,000 to support the education of a student whose parent has been affected by a work-related injury. For Fall 2021, applicants were asked to write an essay about their academic and career goals and how they have been inspired by their parents. Aden was selected based on her response, in which she discusses her goals of pursuing a career in healthcare and helping underserved communities.

Read Aden’s Essay:

Near the back of the bus, I sat; pressed against the window, over the hump of a wheel bringing my knees closer to my chest, my clothes covered in dirt, dripping in sweat from the Panamanian heat, and nauseous from the windy roads, I thought to myself “I could not be any more uncomfortable.” It did not take long, however, for me to reflect and realize that my temporary discomfort paled in comparison to the disparities and medical neglect some communities were experiencing. After being made aware of the significant gap in healthcare access in Panama’s indigenous communities, I was compelled to volunteer through an organization at UCLA. I visited rural areas of Panama, where 90% of residents were under the poverty line and resources were extremely limited. Many residents expressed they had not received medical care in years, some even expressing concerns of pre-existing health conditions going untreated due to lack of accessibility in their communities. As a volunteer, I set up clinics in local schools, churches, and community centers. At these clinics, I was responsible for conducting physical examinations, taking vitals, discussing patient’s concerns, and distributing prescribed medication, all under the direction and supervision of attending physicians. It was not uncommon for our medication supply to be depleted before the end of the day; and I was often left feeling devastated that we could not help everyone who needed it. With limited resources and a huge healthcare gap to fill, it became clear to me that this was a systemic problem. One, that I would make it my goal to address.

When I returned to UCLA, it became even more evident that issues regarding healthcare inequality were not reserved to communities overseas but right in our backyards, communities in the United States were also suffering. This experience inspired me to volunteer at Venice Family Clinics, where I was able to witness first hand just how many people are affected by healthcare inequality in just Los Angeles. Across the clinic’s fourteen sites, they provide quality healthcare to over 30,000 patients each year. Here, I had the opportunity to serve patients from a variety of different backgrounds including low-income, uninsured, undocumented, unhoused, and substance-abusing patients. During my time at Venice Family Clinics, I learned more about the needs of these communities and how to address them through comprehensive healthcare, community wellness, and community engagement.

This experience exposed me to the communities I desire to serve, and solidified my interest in pursuing a career in healthcare. An interest that stemmed early in my life. I was first exposed to healthcare at a young age as my mother is a certified nurse assistant at a rehabilitation and hospice center. On days that she could, she walked me through the facility and sat me in the waiting room on her floor where I could watch her go up and down the hallways visiting and caring for patients. It was not an easy job by any means but she always did it with a smile on her face and it was apparent how much her patients needed and appreciated her for it. I quickly learned from watching my mother all those years, that being a healthcare provider was a career of compassion and selflessness. And while my mother loved her job, my parents both encouraged me to pursue education as a means to help people on a much larger scale than she had the opportunity to. Opportunity, that I have been granted as a result of my parents immigrating to the United States from Ethiopia so that my siblings and I could pursue fruitful careers and give back to our communities despite any imposed challenges.

When I was just 13, my father sustained an injury at work that left him permanently disabled and therefore unable to work. After being forced into retirement, my family struggled financially. I knew then that as much as my family wanted to, they would not be able financially support my education. Thankfully, I was able to fund my undergraduate education through a combination of financial aid, scholarships, and work study. Despite these challenges, I am proud of all that I have overcome in order to be the first university graduate in my family. In short, I believe these experiences and my upbringing have fueled my desire to pursue a career in medicine and my passion for working within underserved communities.

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Hoggatt Law Office, P.C.

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