2021 Pisacano Scholar
Medical School: Keck School of Medicine at USC
Alberto Ortega, a 2021 Pisacano Scholar, is a 4th-year medical student at Keck School of Medicine (KSOM) of the University of Southern California (USC). He graduated from USC with a Bachelor of Science in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies and a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and completed his Master of Business Administration at USC Marshall School of Business as a Consortium for Graduate Study in Management Fellow.
Alberto’s interest in pursuing an MD/MBA dual degree is informed by his passion for developing sustainable solutions that address health inequities and improve access to care for vulnerable populations. He is committed to becoming a physician who will work to reduce health disparities, and his resolve for doing so is strengthened by his personal experiences.
Alberto is of Latino descent (Cuban and Mexican) and is the first person in his family to be born in the United States. Having spent his formative years in a low-income, immigrant community in Northeast Los Angeles, Alberto overcame many obstacles while on his career path. Alberto enjoys sharing his own story of adversity with other students from disadvantaged backgrounds and is passionate about mentoring the next generation of diverse physician leaders.
Prior to medical school, Alberto spent over 10 years working in the healthcare space serving as an Emergency Medical Technician, professional Spanish interpreter, and health educator. His dynamic work experiences informed his unique perspective on healthcare injustices, which in turn deepened his commitment to serve marginalized communities.
Alberto enjoys engaging with the community through various volunteer efforts. He is a co-founder of Project for Los Angeles Youth (PLAY), which strives to improve outcomes for K-12 youth from inner city housing projects, and is the founder of CommunityCPR.org, which provides free, multilingual first aid and CPR workshops throughout Los Angeles. He also enjoys volunteering with Healing Hearts Across Borders, a charity organization that provides free medical and dental care to underserved communities in Mexico.
As a medical student, Alberto was accepted into the Primary Care Program at KSOM where he has had the opportunity to care for patients in an urban underserved setting. He has been actively involved in research and was recently recognized by the National Hispanic Medical Association for his work on language equity and culturally responsive care. Alberto is a UnitedHealthcare Diverse Scholar and was recently named a TEALCU David C. Lizárraga Fellow for his commitment to building self-sufficient communities through economic empowerment. Alberto was also recently inducted into Skull and Dagger, the oldest honor society at USC.
As a future family physician, Alberto aspires to serve disenfranchised patients of all ages by improving access to health care, delivering personalized care, and championing disease prevention. He envisions having a rewarding career in which he longitudinally helps patients be proactive about their wellness instead of being reactive to disease.
In his free time, Alberto enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends, especially if it involves going to the beach or watching the Dodgers.