Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship

The Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship at
Latinas Contra Cancer: Impacting Health Outcomes through Service and Advocacy


 The Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship is a 10-month leadership opportunity for college or graduate level students committed to creating just and equitable access to the healthcare system for the Latino community around issues of cancer.  


Throughout the fellowship year, each fellow will engage in community health work such as patient advocacy & navigation, community health education, cancer survivor support, research and community organizing.  In addition, each fellow will implement a portion of their Vision for Social Change.


We are interested in hosting one additional fellow this year who lives in or go to school in Santa Clara County and who is dedicated to serving their local communities. Each fellow must be committed to health justice and social change. Fellows should demonstrate critical thinking, initiative, follow through and a passion for achieving health equity for the population we serve.  


We welcome and encourage students who are passionate about health justice to apply. 
We prioritize the involvement of self-identified Latinas and Spanish speakers.


The Fellowship will run from March 1, 2022 to December 18, 2022 and includes:
1) 10-month immersion in grassroots community health programs serving the low-income Latino population
2) Training in HIPAA compliance, community health education curriculum and patient advocacy
3) Deepened understanding of health injustice in Santa Clara County and the impact of continued health inequity on the Latino community4) Mentorship & Networking
5) $5,000 stipend

The 2022 application cycle is now close. We are not accepting applications at this moment, but you can see our application form at the following link.  

2022 Fellowship Cohort

Gisselle Gonzalez-Perez

Gisselle is a first-generation Mexican-American sophomore student at Stanford University. Gisselle has interests in the studies of public health, medicine, and public policy. She plans to pursue a Human Biology B.S. and reach her ultimate goal of becoming a medical doctor. In her free time, Gisselle enjoys going to the beach, watching sunsets, and spending time with her family. She is currently a Senior Youth Advisor for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and is excited to continue her community health and advocacy work for Latinas Contra Cancer. 

Natalia Zamora Zeledon

Natalia is a Junior at Stanford University, where she is pursuing a B.S in Human Biology, graduating June 2023. She was born in Costa Rica, and immigrated to Southern CA when she was 12 years old. She is interested in medicine, health education, and biology, and her ultimate goal is to become a physician and work with low-income populations. She has been volunteering with Latinas Contra Cancer since Spring 2020, where she helped with COVID-19 relief and health education.

Miriam Lucia Trigo

Miriam is a Senior at Stanford University studying Materials Science and Engineering. She is also on the pre-medical track. She is passionate about medical innovation and health equity, and looks forward to expanding these interests in future years. She enjoys hiking, singing, and cooking with her family.

Monica Naranjo

Monica is a first generation student attending CSU San Jose as Junior, majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Systems Physiology. She eventually wants to work in the health care field, and she is passionate to find ways to combat health inequities in low-income communities. She hopes to gain more experience in the field to expand her knowledge and figure out more of her interests. In her free time, she loves to be creative whether that’s crocheting, making jewelry, or painting with friends.

Stephanie Contreras-Reyes

Stephanie is a first-generation Mexican-American undergraduate Freshman student at Stanford University, originally born and raised in South Central Los Angeles. Stephanie has interests in the physiological sciences, public health, and educational equity for underrepresented students of color. Stephanie’s passion for health education and advocacy stem from her own experiences and challenges as a daughter of monolingual, low-income, immigrant parents. She is eager to expand current support systems, uplift, and design equitable services specifically for families like her own. In the coming years, Stephanie will also continue to develop her family’s embroidery business and establish her own nonprofit centered towards bridging health inequities in marginalized communities.

Paloma Vazquez

Paloma is an undergraduate third-year studying Human Biology at Stanford University, originally born and raised in Compton, California. She is a first-generation student who is devoted on making an impact in low-income communities where resources are scarce. Through her volunteer work in the medical field and personal experiences, Paloma has witnessed the inequity that many face when seeking health care. For this reason, she hopes to become a medical professional while also working to implement policies that bridge the healthcare gap that exists in underrepresented communities. In her free time, she loves to watch sunsets and read books.

Laisha Martinez

“I am excited to work with community leaders in San Jose and LCC to address health disparities in the Latinx community”.

Laisha is a second-year undergraduate studying Human Biology at Stanford University. She is interested in community health, health psychology, and health equity, and aspires to become a physician. She was part of Latinas Contra Cancer’s first Defensoras Cohort in 2021, where she learned about health advocacy and organizing.

Emelin Cabrera

The Irma Ferrer Memorial Health Justice Fellowship was started in honor of Irma Ferrer. Born in San Francisco to Mexican immigrant parents, Irma Rose Ferrer grew up in the Mission District and later moved with her parents and three siblings to Santa Rosa where she worked in her family’s Mexican restaurant while completing school at Santa Rosa Junior College. She married Juan Ferrer, an immigrant from Mexico City, a Marine and self-made man. They moved to San Rafael where she raised her four children and ran a successful plumbing business. In 1988, after a two year battle, she died at the age of 54, of stomach cancer. Irma was the matriarch of her family, loved to host holiday gatherings and open her home to anyone who needed a place to stay. She was an indomitable spirit for her family and the community. A model of charity, her volunteer work included leading the school parent group, fundraising for Catholic Charities, making candy for the church bazaar and serving on numerous non-profit boards. Irma was also involved in every aspect of her children’s lives. She believed in getting things done. She was always a proponent of “charity beginning at home”, or making sure you take care of family first and then your friends and community. She had a deep religious faith and lived by those principles in all aspects of her life. Her faith, family and resources sustained her as she battled cancer. This fellowship supports her concern for those battling cancer who have less resources and therefore is dedicated to provide comprehensive support to other Latinas in their fight against cancer.