P.D. Soros Fellowship for New Americans


Oswaldo (Oz) Hasbún Avalos, 2015

MD, Columbia University

Oswaldo (Oz) Hasbún Avalos is an immigrant from El Salvador

Fellowship awarded to support work towards an MD in Medicine at Columbia University

A native of El Salvador who immigrated to the United States in 2001, Oz has been committed to improving the quality of medical care for "limited English proficiency" patients since starting his undergraduate studies at Stanford University.

While at Stanford, Oz joined the Arbor Free Clinic as a Spanish interpreter, and later became the Interpreter Coordinator. Realizing the need of formalized training for proper interpretation and the reduction of errors leading to dangerous clinical consequences, Oz used his role to restructure interpreter services at the medical school's clinics. Partnering with professional interpreters, he developed an innovative education program, which has been found to be an effective, accelerated, and comprehensive model for training volunteer medical interpreters.

Oz has been recognized as a White House Champion of Change by the Obama administration. In addition, he has received the Westly Prize for Young Innovators of California and has been selected as a United Health Foundation Diverse Scholar for his work on language services. His first-author evaluation of the training program was recently published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Now a medical student at Columbia University, Oz continues his advocacy work and community service as joint clinic manager for four student-run free clinics, as a founding member of the New York Student-Run Free Clinic board and through his continued work training volunteer medical interpreters. He is a leader of the Columbia-Harlem Homeless Medical Partnership, the Human Rights Initiative's asylum clinic, and Columbia Student Medical Outreach.

  • MD Medicine | Columbia University 2017
  • BS Biology | Stanford University 2013
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