Born in Compton and raised in Boyle Heights, Laura E. Martinez is a first-generation college student and UCLA alumni. She majored in Organismic Biology, Ecology, and Evolutionary Biology (OBEE) and completed her degree in 2003. Trained as a biomedical scientist, Laura received her Ph.D. in 2016 in Pathobiology from the Department of Global Health and the School of Public Health at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle, Washington. She is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology studying cancer immunology as it pertains to AIDS-associated non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
In 2018, Laura began collaborating with Sonja Diaz, Founding Executive Director of LPPI, and Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the UCLA Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture (CESLAC). Her collaborations led to policy briefs addressing California’s Latino Physician Crisis. The first policy brief examines the language concordance mismatch between language-proficient physicians and individuals with Limited English Proficiency who speak Spanish, Tagalog, Thai, Lao, or Vietnamese, which are the most under-represented language groups in California’s Physician Workforce. The second policy brief reports on the severe shortage in medical residents in California’s Latino Physician Workforce relative to other states with some of the highest Latino populations, such as Florida, Texas, and New York. Laura is currently working as a research associate under the mentorship and guidance of Drs. David Hayes-Bautista and Paul Hsu at CESLAC. She is interested in further examining the Latino Physician Workforce at different career stages of the pipeline, understanding barriers to Graduate Medical Education for Latinos and under-represented minority groups, and investigating California’s Mental Health Workforce.