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MAA Board of Directors 2014-15 President mid-late 1980s, global health was a concept not yet woven into medical training. As someone who identifies with Don Quixote’s sense of undertaking adventures for noble causes, I had the desire to make a difference beyond the boundaries of Westwood. I am a child of immigrants from Mexico and El Salvador and the first in my family to graduate from high school. I grew up learning the value of advocating for the rights of disenfranchised communities to promote equity. During my second year of medical school, I acted on my strong commitment to support population-responsive medical pipelines by organizing a campaign to obtain donations for a new medical school in Managua, Nicaragua. The school, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Nicaragua (UNAN), was being built to address the need for more health professionals to serve the country. I became aware that the new medical school needed equipment for the students, so I solicited and received donations of microscopes and teaching slides, as well as a microtone and materials to make new slides, from UCLA, as well as from the UCLA departments of pathology and laboratory medicine and anatomy. The summer between my second and third years, I hand-delivered the equipment to UNAN and met the dean of the medical school. It is difficult to put into words the emotions I felt or the impact that this undertaking, and the support I received from the UCLA School of Medicine (now the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA), had on me. Certainly, this project set me on the path I have taken in my professional life. Fast forward almost three decades, and I’m still promoting exchange to create positive change. In March 2014, in my role as founding director of the UCLA Blum Center on Poverty and Health in Latin America, I returned to Managua to meet with the current UNAN dean to establish a collaborative relationship between UNAN and the UCLA Blum Center to build health and training programs that will benefit the people of Nicaragua, as well as UCLA trainees. The dean took me by the same mango tree and the same office I visited 29 years prior. It was a déjà-vu experience. I feel I have come full circle and I am inspired to collaborate with colleagues at UCLA and other locations in the United States, Latin America and beyond. My goal is to identify and advocate for effective responses in health policy and practice in order to improve the health and healthcare in Latin America and in the areas to which those from Latin America immigrate. To learn more about the UCLA Blum Center, go to: Jeannine Rahimian, MD ’00, MBA Executive Vice President George M. Rajacich, MD ’79 Vice President Kathryn “Kay” M. Gardner, MD ’79 Secretary/Treasurer William “Bill” Hastrup, MD ’77 Dr. Neil H. Parker at the Class of 2014 Senior Send-off. Photo: Todd Cheney/UCLA Photography 2014 Alumnus of the Year Neil H. Parker, MD (RES ’75, FEL ’78), senior associate dean for student affairs and graduate medical education and chair of the Admissions Committee, has been named the 2014 Medical Alumni Association Alumnus of the Year. Dr. Parker has been a member of 40 David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA committees. Over the past two decades, he has served on 10 UC system-wide committees and task forces, including the Graduate Medical Education Committee and University-wide Health Planning Committee, where he served as chair for a decade. He has dedicated his career to enhancing the education of UCLA medical students, residents and postdoctoral fellows. More than 15,000 of UCLA’s medical alumni have benefited from his blend of compassion, humor, passion and intelligence. U MAGAZINE 41