Student Spotlight- Catherine Cortez

Catherine Cortez headshot for website

Catherine Cortez is a 2nd year MPH student in the Epidemiology department at UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. She was introduced to the maternal & child health field while interning at First 5 California during her last year of undergraduate studies at University of California, San Diego. In addition to her public health coursework, this experience fueled her interest and passion for the field and its health equity-oriented, lifecourse approach to improving the health and well-being of children and families. She then served with AmeriCorps as a Data & Outreach Coordinator at San Diego for Every Child, where she supported data analysis and community outreach projects to bring awareness to the experience of child poverty across San Diego County through a lens of access to healthy food, stable housing, reliable healthcare, and quality childcare and early education.

This past summer, Catherine completed her field study through the Graduate Student Epidemiology Program (GSEP), a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration-funded maternal & child health leadership program led by the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs. There, she was matched with the Nagata Lab at University of California, San Francisco and led data analyses on screen time, physical activity, and mental health among U.S. adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. She is dedicated to conducting research for action and seeks to continually improve her data analysis, visualization, and communication skills as an aspiring MCH Epidemiologist.