Omar Viramontes was born in Zacatecas, Mexico and at age 11, his family decided to move to the U.S. to pursue the America dream. His parents became grape field workers, and settled in a small town in the San Joaquin Valley — 10 minutes south of Delano, CA — the home of the Grape Strike Movement of Cesar Chavez. Growing up, the only requirement for Omar and his siblings was to excel in school, but he took it upon himself to not only excel in school but to help his family financially by becoming a produce vendor. He sold corn, watermelon and cantaloupes by walking the streets of the central valley rural communities. This is where his character was defined and his passion in medicine began when he saw the extreme inequalities in healthcare that existed. The inequalities were due to not having insurance, not having access to healthcare due to the shortage of doctors, and not knowing how to navigate the limited healthcare system. Omar went on to study Human Biology at UC San Diego where he started to address some of these disparities by conducting Cardiac Rehabilitation research to improve enrollment and participation rates in vulnerable populations. He is continuing community based research this summer by detailing the best practices that Community Health Centers can use to efficiently enroll uninsured patients to the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance options. He hopes to practice in an underserved area to provide quality healthcare to those that need it the most. His research interests include conducting and using health outcomes research and Minority Health Policy to improve access and outcomes to vulnerable populations. In his free time, Omar enjoys spending time with friends and family, traveling, hiking, cycling, tennis and exploring LA’s food scene.

Undergrad Institution: UC San Diego

Hometown: Earlimart, CA