Welcome to the First Gen Community

First Generation Students

These medical students have made the unimaginable for many, imaginable, reaching extraordinary levels of excellence enriched by the communities they come from, overcoming barriers that have instilled in them core values like humility, respect, leadership, advocacy, and ganas (grit). And for this we welcome you to our DGSOM community.

— Ava Mousavi

pictured left, with Monica Le, Kendra Arriaga, and Sam Lee. DGSOM First Gen Leaders 2021-22

Read about their experience!

First Gen Welcome

We wanted to welcome incoming first-generation medical students. It’s a really exciting time for them, what with getting their white coat and entering medical school. But hidden behind that excitement can be a lot of anxiety and doubt or fear of the unexpected, and we want them to know that there are people who are here for them. We are welcoming them into a supportive community, and they can reach out and connect with us as they need.

— David Ho, pictured right, former First Gen leadership at DGSOM

About First Gen @ DGSOM

First Gen @ UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) is an extension of the larger UCLA-wide First To Go Initiative highlighting the first-generation experience in higher education. In this group, first gen medical students are those who are the first in their family to attend college. Students who identify as "First Gen" will be able to connect to other DGSOM students, residents, fellows, faculty, and alumni who are proudly first gen themselves.

We envision mentorship and tailored resources that focus on student, resident, and faculty well-being and self-preservation (from the medical school years to beyond), through the first-gen lens.

Connecting to first gen resources/workshops at the UCLA university level (the established UCLA First To Go Initiative), including but not limited to:

  • Mentorship (if interested) between First Gen medical students and First-Gen UCLA college pre-medical students.
  • Networking between First-Gen graduate chapters (e.g. UCLA Anderson School of Management, UCLA Law, First-Generation Graduate Student Council at UCLA)
  • Advocacy of First Gen concerns and issues at bimonthly UCLA First Gen Advisory Board meetings


  • Faculty Advisors: Alejandra Casillas, MD and Margarita Loeza, MD
  • Student Coordinators: Ursula Biba, Rebbecca Brena, Erica Escalera, Larissa Nicolas, Othneil Sparks
  • Student Advisors: Kendra Arriaga-Castellanos, Monica Le, Sam Lee, Ava Mousavi

Visit UCLA First To Go

Connect with Us

Justice, Equity, and Diversity Inclusion (JEDI) Office

We are always happy to hear from you! Reach out if you have questions about First Gen.

Email: DGSOMJEDI@mednet.ucla.edu