Over the past two years, UC San Diego Alumna Arianna Chavez works to minimize public health disparities by bridging the gap between available resources and people’s knowledge of them.
As the CEO and Founder of San Diego Free Resources, or @bastaladisparidad on Instagram which translates to “Enough of Disparity”, Chavez leads a team of 10 interns to garner free resources and programs for communities of color as an effort to minimize public health disparities throughout San Diego. She eyed a career career in research as a way to tackle public health issues, but decided this project was how she wanted to help the community.
“I chose that saying because there are a lot of public health disparities in San Diego county. There is a huge gap between north county and south county. I hope to make that gap smaller or completely get rid of it by providing communities with the resources they need to have better health outcomes,” Chavez said.
As a native to the South Bay region, Chavez is inspired by assisting the communities that “shaped” her and communities in need. She also draws inspiration from her childhood experience of attaining free or reduced cost health services from places like Logan Heights Family Health Center.
“I promote free health services because I believe that is the main contributor to health outcomes. What I've learned through that experience, and other experiences is that everything contributes to health. I went from providing free health services to providing free resources that could have positive health outcomes,” Chavez said.
As a junior in College, Chavez began the Instagram page in 2019 which grew “overnight” from being a small account with 50 followers to what is now nearly 7,000. She credits the growth of her account to her followers sharing her content.
The posts found on Instagram comprise colorful infographics and text images that details free resources or programs, immunization opportunities and more. She shared that through the promotion of vaccination distributions at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Chula Vista, the vaccination clinic saw an increased number of registration for vaccinations.
She graduated in June 2021 from UCSD with a B.A in Biology, but continues to work on her organization to further build the gap of inaccessible resources to underserved communities. As the CEO and Founder of San Diego Free Resources at the ripe age of 22, Chavez aims to gain credentials as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in order to host food distribution services and fundraise money to further support underserved communities in San Diego.
“This project at it’s core is what I want to continue doing for my community,” she said
She currently oversees interns who are mostly undergraduate college students from historically underserved communities with a “unique perspective”. Each intern focuses on a topic they are passionate about. In March, Chavez plans to release an application geared toward recruiting high school students.
“I really want this to be an opportunity for students to use in their future. I just want to help them get a job that contributes to public health. I want to make sure it is someone that will value the experience and make the most of it for the future,” She said.
Chavez currently resides in Chula Vista and plans to expand her organization. This year, she was recognized by the city at their Celebration of Champions Virtual event.
“If you are someone in need, or not, please know that we all probably know someone in need. it’s nice to know about us and follow us so you can connect to local resources that are available,” Chavez said.