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Dr. Eva Galvez sitting in office space.

Alumni Fellow Eva Galvez to address impact of COVID-19 on Latino communities  

By Tamara Cissna

Dr. Eva Galvez will be honored with the 2020 Alumni Fellows Award on Oct. 20.

Eva Galvez (Biology ’99), a family physician at the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center, will be honored with the 2020 Alumni Fellows Award at the OSU Alumni Association’s awards virtual ceremony on October 20. The award recognizes eminent alumni who have distinguished themselves in their professions and communities.

During the ceremony, Galvez will give a talk entitled, "The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Latino communities." Register now to hear her online address on Thurs., Oct. 22 at noon. Her talk will cover the social determinants of health, their role in shaping health, and how we can better address these factors to achieve health equity for all Oregonians.

The daughter of immigrants, Galvez and her twin sister, Olivia, graduated from the College of Science’s biology program and went on to pursue careers in medicine. Galvez regularly speaks on panels to educate the public around health disparities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Galvez has become a vocal advocate for mitigating health risks for Oregon’s seasonal farm workers and has addressed the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis in the House of Representatives.

Galvez advocates for increased protections for Black, Latino and Native Americans – groups that have seen disproportionate rates of infection, even among other groups in the same low-income brackets. Often, they live or work in close quarters, lack access to healthcare and do not have the option of discontinuing work if they develop symptoms, which increases the risk of infection to others.

“Much of our society has this belief that health is something that we have control over — that if we as individuals can just eat the right food and exercise the right amount and take the right medications you will be healthy. And this would be nice, but that is not the reality. Health is actually the sum of many factors. The reality is only about 20% of our health is determined by healthcare and our individual choice. And the rest is shaped by social factors, otherwise known as social determinants of health, and those include cultural beliefs and your values.”

Galvez will be introduced by College of Science BioHealth major Meghan Maureen Cowan and Dean Roy Haggerty.