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Class of 2017: Making a difference in health care for Hispanics

Maried Nava Perez
Maried Nava Perez

Senior Maried Nava Perez moved to Atlanta from Venezuela as a five-year-old.

“My dad signed to play major league baseball, and my mom did not want to move,” she said. “Now, I thank God we did because that was one of the best decisions of my life.”

The second best decision—choosing to go to Georgia College, where she majored in community health.

“Community health brought together my two passions of promoting health and helping people,” said Perez. “I really enjoyed all of Dr. Heidi Fowler’s classes. Seeing her passion and how she made an impact made me realize I had picked the right major.”

This spring she’s put what she learned in the classroom into action as she interned with the Strong4Life at Children’s Healthcare Atlanta. Strong4Life is a public awareness campaign that focuses on helping busy parents raise healthier families.

“We coordinate health fairs, school nutritional campaigns, encourage healthy eating and much more,” said Perez.

Of all the work she’s done to help combat childhood obesity, she calls her semester project, her “proudest accomplishment.”

“When I first started working here, I realized there were very limited resources for Hispanics, so I conducted interviews at a local pediatricians office to find out what moms wanted to learn more about and areas we could work to provide more resources,” she said.

Because of her work, the organization is making an effort to reach out to Hispanics and is even working to create a Spanish website with information on healthy living.

“I am interviewing for jobs now, but I know I want to work with Hispanics because I know they struggle with healthy living,” said Perez.

Involved with Campus Catholics and the Latino Student Association while pursuing her undergraduate degree, she says she’s sad to leave Georgia College, but also excited for the next chapter of her life.

“I chose Georgia College because they are big on diversity, and it was the best decision for me,” said Perez. “Georgia College sees diversity as important, and is a place for different ideas and cultures to come together.”

 

 

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