Dania Alexa Arteaga

2023 - SAN DIEGO

Dania Alexa Arteaga is a junior at St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, California. In Orange County, California, most people have access to healthcare. But what goes unseen is the affliction faced by Latino families at the edges of town who are forced to sacrifice their health to pay their bills and feed their children. There is a great need for medical care, but sadly, because of the price tag associated with it, only a select few have the privilege of access to a primary care physician. Dania noticed this, having experienced it within the walls of her own home, and longed for a way to mend the access gap in healthcare. She could not let the healthcare system fail an entire demographic simply because of a number on a check. With this in mind, Dania drafted up her idea for Bridges Clinic, a pop-up clinic for low-income uninsured residents. With no knowledge of how to establish a medical clinic, the idea seemed impossible. But Dania remained determined, cold calling over fifty doctors' offices, working over 400 hours coordinating with physicians, negotiating prescription prices and creating a plan. As a result, Bridges Clinic became a reality, treating fifty-four patients in six hours at a local high school. This spring, Dania was the first recipient of the Moseley Venture to Serve Grant at her school, which provided $6000 to run more clinics in the near future. By administering the nation's first student-run pop-up clinic alongside two physicians, Dania exposes the disparities in healthcare and fights for her community. Bridges Clinic, formally recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives, serves uninsured patients, offering free consultations, medication and an opportunity to take back one's health. In addition to her health equity work, Dania is chairwoman of the Youth Board of Dana Point, dedicating her time to representing the hearts and minds of her hometown. She is also an active participant of Corazones Alegres, a Mexican folkloric dance group, where she promotes and preserves her Latino heritage.