P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Geronimo Bejarano, 2024

PhD, Brown University

Geronimo Bejarano is an immigrant from Colombia

Fellowship awarded to support work towards a PhD in Health Services Research at Brown University

Geronimo Bejarano was born in Cali, Colombia just like his parents and all his family for as far back as anyone can remember. Shortly before his fifth birthday, Geronimo and his parents immigrated to Florida with little beyond what fit in their suitcases and a dream of a brighter future for Geronimo. There was no return flight or plan beyond the expiration date of the visitor visa. For the following 12 years, Geronimo and his parents lived in the United States undocumented where he remembers many fearful moments that could have ended in deportation. Luckily, there was no deportation and his parents’ dreams of a brighter future for him were realized over and over again when he became a first-generation high school, college, and master’s degree graduate. He is now the first person in his family to start a PhD.

Geronimo’s green card was granted the summer after his high school graduation. Due to Geronimo’s undocumented immigration status and his parents’ low wages working as maids, it wasn’t until the “green card summer” where he realized college could be a possibility for him. The following fall, Geronimo started classes at his local community college and then transferred to the University of Central Florida and completed his bachelor’s degree in exercise science. Geronimo spent the following few years working as an aide helping to deliver care for people with musculoskeletal pain, falling in love with research, and becoming a US citizen.

Geronimo completed his Master of Public Health at the University of Texas (UT), during which time he conducted research with the mentorship from professors at UT, like Emily Hébert, Kathleen Carberry and Elizabeth Teisberg, at Duke University, like Christine Goertz, and at University of Sydney, like Joshua Zadro. Motivated by the health inequities of the minoritized communities that he grew up in and his parents’ experience as limited English proficiency older adults, Geronimo’s research interests have centered around how the privatization of the US health care system impacts inequities and care delivery for older adults.

In 2023, Geronimo started his PhD in health services research at Brown University, where he works with professors David Meyers and Andrew Ryan, studying the effects of privatized Medicare, known as Medicare Advantage, on older adults. 

  • MPH Epidemiology | University of Texas Health Science Center Houston 2023
  • BA Exercise Science | University of Central Florida 2017
  • AA Business Administration | Valencia College 2015
  • PhD Health Services Research | Brown University
  • University of Central Florida Scholars Award Scholarship
  • Alice S. Hersch Student Scholarship AcademyHealth
  • Lu-Yu Hwang, M.D. and R. Palmer Beasley, M.D. Scholarship
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