Not long after learning to read in elementary school, Genesis Sanchez was thrust into the role of helping non-English speaking members of her extended family navigate the healthcare system.
“I spent a lot of my earlier years advocating for them as well as translating for them,” recalls Sanchez, whose parents brought her to Philadelphia from the Dominican Republic when she was just a baby. “Thatʼs how I found my passion in nursing.”
RAISING HEALTHCARE LITERACY
Years later, those formative experiences helped Sanchez build relationships, especially with Spanish-speaking families, during her six-month critical care co-op in the surgical intensive care unit at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.“
Healthcare literacy is lacking,” says Sanchez, who is working toward her BSN with a minor in education. “Our healthcare systemʼs very complicated as it is. To have a language barrier makes it even more difficult.”
Sanchez says she eventually could see herself starting an adult day care or another service for older adults, especially those in minority communities.
LIFE-CHANGING LIBERTY SCHOLARSHIP
“Iʼm a first-generation immigrant as well as a first-generation college student,” Sanchez says proudly. And she is grateful for the opportunities she has had to pursue her passion at Drexel University College of Nursing and Health Professions.
Sanchez is attending Drexel as a Liberty Scholar, a program for economically disadvantaged Philadelphia high school graduates that covers 100 percent of tuition and fees. It also provides mentorship, a learning community in which all scholars live during their first year and extracurricular and developmental programming.
“Thatʼs really been a life-changer for me,” Sanchez says.