José Manuel Carrillo-Castro, a 2023 Pisacano Scholar, is a 4th-year medical student at Oregon Health & Science University. Originally from Lima, Peru, José Manuel attended Western Washington University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and a Bachelor of Science in behavioral neuroscience.
As an undergraduate at Western Washington University (WWU), José Manuel began combining their passion for the intersection of education and social justice by volunteering with the Sea Mar Community Health Center of Bellingham, WA, in a program that provided nutrition classes in Spanish to the children of an assisted-housing community composed primarily of undocumented families. Through this experience and others, José Manuel realize that one’s personal experiences and identities can be a major asset for serving our communities.
In 2016, the immigrant community became a focus of attack by the national government. As a DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) recipient who had grown up undocumented most of his life, José Manuel was directly affected by this news. Driven by the stories and experiences of his undocumented peers, José Manuel began openly sharing his story and subsequently their journey into community organizing.
They began working with a women-led grassroots organization dedicated to food sovereignty and immigrant rights, helping to draft and present a Sanctuary City Ordinance and helped lead Dignity Dialogues in which community members could come to learn in-depth about immigration justice by directly affected individuals and how to take action. In 2017, they joined the organizing team of national non-profit Detention Watch Network, focusing on the movement to end immigration detention. As the lead community organizer for the campaign for the state of Washington, José Manuel traveled across the state to give speeches and met directly with affected community members and with elected representatives to advocate decreasing funding to detention centers.
José Manuel began their studies at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) after being awarded the Presidential Scholarship. During their 2nd year, they were chosen as the OAFP 2021 Future of Medicine Leadership Scholar in Oregon. At OHSU, José Manuel was the lead in designing and coordinating a pre-clinical elective offered to medical students focused on Immigrant Health and was selected as the Society for Teachers of Family Medicine Foundation Student Scholar to present the curriculum at the 2023 national conference.
Within their role as class Diversity and Inclusion Liaison, they were a lead in developing the OHSU Outdated Terminology Guide and Language in Medical Education form, both tools for educators and students to learn about and be able to anonymously inform the Equity and Justice Community of instances of outdated, harmful, or stigmatizing language used in medical education. This tool and guide are now officially in action and have become integrated into OHSU policy.
José Manuel plans on settling down in the Pacific Northwest to practice family medicine with Spanish-speaking and historically oppressed populations while continuing their community organizing and education work. In their spare time, they enjoy playing any musical instrument they can get their hands on, bouldering, woodworking, karaoke, and spending time with family and friends.