LA County HIV Public Health Services Fellowship Program
MEET THE FELLOWS:
Dr. RAFAEL CHIQUILLO
Rafael was born in El Salvador, Central America. He was inspired to study medicine at the age of 6 years after hearing of “the amazing miracles” that doctors had performed to save his life as a young person, he visited the emergency room several times because his health was very fragile. These experiences, not only deeply influenced his wish to pursue a career in the medical field, but also motived him to excel academically to obtain any kind of financial support to finance his dream.
Because of his high academic achievement in high school, Rafael was awarded a full presidential scholarship, an award given to top students in his country. This allowed him attending the University of El Salvador, the top university of his country where obtained the degree of Doctor of Medicine.
While in medical school, Rafael worked with impoverished communities for six years which awaked his passion to help underserved populations. He completed his social service year, the last year of medical school, in a city of 90,000 habitants which also had high prevalence of HIV in the nation. There Rafael completed over ten thousand consultations and participated in several field works including HIV campaigns. After his social service year, he practiced for two years as a primary care physician and health educator.
Rafael migrated to the U.S. not only because his family roots, but also to pursue a Family Medicine residency and a subsequent sub specialization. After overcoming the language barrier, he worked in the mental health field as a mental health counselor for almost four years for the adult and pediatric population. In 2013, he was accepted into the pre-residency program in Family Medicine for IMGs at UCLA where he gained exposure to the US health system and insight of the HIV in the US throughout the UCLA HIV clinics network.
In 2014, Rafael graduated from the UCLA IMG program and began his post-graduation training in family medicine at the Rio Bravo Family Medicine Residency Program, a UCLA affiliated program in Bakersfield, CA. There Rafael not only learned beyond the basis of primary care and was exposed to the underserved population without limitations, but also noticed first-hand the enormous shortage of HIV specialist committed to work with the minorities. All these motivated him to pursue further specialization in HIV Medicine. In 2016, Rafael became a certified physician by the Medical Board of California and in 2017 also obtained board certification by the American Academy of Family Physicians. After his HIV public health training completion, Rafael visualizes himself working with the underserved Latino population and other minorities, integrating HIV expertise into primary care, and becoming a leader in the community to advocate for the underrepresented and more vulnerable population which are in fact the ultimate goals and commitment in his professional life.
University of El Salvador: Doctor of Medicine
Residency: Rio Bravo Family Medicine Residency Program, UCLA affiliated Program