UCSF Sustainability Stories

Sophia Labeko

Next Generation of Environmental Health Leaders - Lizbeth Cabrera

This story is a continuation of the Extracurricular: Next Generation of Environmental Health Leaders story.

Lizbeth Cabrera is a second-year student at UCSF School of Nursing. As part of her ESP internship, Cabrera spent three months with Bayview Hunters Point Community Advocates, a program that combines community organizing with education, advocacy, and direct services. They serve an underprivileged community of people, who are often marginally housed and experience food insecurities.

Cabrera focused her work on supporting the community outreach team, which identified people eager to get vaccinated. This small team of 3-4 people walked the Hunters Point area, starting at the community center and often moving North, towards 3rd and Evans Ave.

Along with vaccine information, they brought basic care items that people in this area often need–food and toiletries are highly regarded. While vaccine equity is what sparked these walks, access to basic care items and resources is what motivated it to continue.

To better advocate for resources, Cabrera created a survey to quantify the needs of the people they visited. In addition to the survey, she created a map to show the areas that the outreach team visited and how often those areas are visited. Finally, to close the loop, Cabrera compiled a list of available resources to share with this community

Most of the challenges that Cabrera and the team faced tie back to the mistrust this underserved community has in city-affiliated programs. People are reluctant to talk and share personal information and experiences, necessary for the survey, due to previous and current policies that challenge them. For example, they are aware of the toxic waste in the area, but the city has taken little action to address their pleas to investigate the waste and its health impacts. 

“As a future health care provider this was a great opportunity to learn more about the challenges that they face with environmental health, as well as other social determinants of health,” says Cabrera.

Watch Cabrera’s full presentation on YouTube.