Growing up in a small town in Puerto Rico, Mislael Valentín-Cortés witnessed firsthand how inequality, health disparities, and social injustice affected close relatives and friends. Deeply concerned about these issues, Mislael considered social work early on as a vehicle for social change.
However, given limited resources and lack of BSW programs at his undergraduate institution, he focused his coursework on English and Social Sciences, yet focused his extracurricular activities on community outreach and empowerment, health promotion, and mental health awareness. He then learned of the Future Public Health Leaders Program, a summer internship program designed to increase representation of underserved populations in public health at the University of Michigan.
Through this program, Mislael’s interest in social justice and health equity was cemented, “Growing up, I had experienced the results of systemic injustice and health issues at all levels, yet my perspective was broadened through FPHLP because I learned of health equity issues on a national and global scale.”
“My time in Michigan over the summer was so impactful, that I decided to return for grad school,” he adds.
Read Mislael's full student profile.