When Joe Torres was 8 years old, his family immigrated to Covina, California from Veracruz, Mexico. He has travelled a long distance to reach his dream of attending medical school, but the experiences along the way have refined his character. He began his path to higher education by attending Mt. San Antonio Community College as an AB-540 student. In 2002, his parents returned to Mexico leaving him alone and financially responsible. Still undocumented, he was unable to receive financial aid. Through immense dedication, working low-wage jobs, commuting 80 miles daily and with loans from family and friends, he graduated from UCLA in 2006 with a B.S. in Biology. He was unable to pursue medical school right after college due to his undocumented status and lack of financial support once again. Meanwhile he worked as a director at a retirement center, in charge of the basic medical care for the elderly. In 2008, he married his best friend and for the next 2 years they went through the stringent process of attaining his residency. Then, after being out of school for 5 years, he completed the UCSD Postbaccalaureate program where he achieved provost honors, assisted in a heroin vaccine research and taught underserved youth. Joe is excited to be a second year medical student at the UCLA PRIME/DREW program and is interested in addressing health disparities in underserved areas. Over the past year he has been involved in LMSA, UCLA Student Run Homeless Clinic, and has mentored with at-risk probation youth. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife and infant son Sonny, attending Dodger games, and watching MMA.

Undergrad Institution: UC Los Angeles

Hometown: Veracruz, Mexico; Covina, CA