Cynthia Gonzalez

Cynthia Gonzalez
Location: Los Angeles, California Cohort Start Year: 2019
Assistant Professor
Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science

Committed to health equity by addressing health disparities in Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood via placemaking and community engagement; committed to principles of social justice and advocacy.

STRATEGIC INITIATIVE: The Share, Trust, Organize Partner: the COVID-19 California Alliance (STOP COVID-19 CA)
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shed light on health inequities, illuminating the fissures of society. COVID-19 has had a devastating toll on black and Latinx Americans. The lack of national-level, coordinated studies hampered the ability to create harmonized, evidence-based recommendations for communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19. As the clinical approaches to vaccination continue, the risk of excluding black and Latinx populations will significantly impact recovery for these populations and society at large. The share, trust, organize partner: the COVID-19 California Alliance (STOP COVID-19 CA) is a unique partnership of major institutions with highly innovative community partners working in diverse communities with high rates of COVID-19. It is part of a national NIH effort (Community Engagement Alliance [CEAL] Against COVID-19 Disparities) to develop best practices for community engagement. STOP COVID-19 CA seeks integrative approaches to understanding populations most impacted by COVID-19 and aims to implement strategies to mitigate community trust. My project will work with STOP COVID-19 to identify implications for recovery impacting low-income, black, and Latinx residents in south and Southeast Los Angeles County.

Cynthia has both a personal and professional commitment and passion for advocacy, social justice, and equity. A daughter of Mexican immigrants who was born and raised in Watts, Cynthia witnessed and experienced first-hand systemic injustices, but also the strength in community. She sought academia as a protective factor and learned frameworks associated with her lived experiences.

Click here to watch Cynthia’s Legacy Project video.