Gonzales grew up watching his grandmother try to manage her diabetes. She
monitored her weight and glucose levels, but as her condition worsened, she
entered dialysis and eventually died from effects of the disease.
her I became curious about the human condition and how medicine tries to
intervene to help people,” he said. “That made me want to investigate health
conditions more thoroughly.”
interested in medicine through high school in Colorado Springs and entered
Cornell University as a biology major, despite choosing the school based on its
found architecture compelling, but at the last minute I switched to biology
because I was still intrigued by it. I liked how it caters to natural systems and
how they work.”
a good choice for Gonzales. After the boundless sunshine of Colorado, he
appreciated New York’s overcast weather. He found a fit culturally, too.
first two years, he lived in a dormitory that housed 35 students of American
identified as Native American through my mother,” who traces her family to
Picuris Pueblo in New Mexico, he said. “But this was a great exploration in
involved in extracurricular activities including tutoring at a high school
where many students are American Indian and spending time on reservations in
the area. He helped organize an annual powwow as well as smaller events
including drum circles and hide tanning. In a fry bread competition in 2010, Gonzales
won first place in the expert category.
graduating with a bachelor of science degree in biology, health and society,
Gonzales returned to Colorado to polish his resume to apply to medical school.
He spent year in a call center and couple years as a marketing supervisor at
Quasar Instruments, a startup medical equipment supplier, before entering the Master
of Science in Modern Human Anatomy program at University of Colorado Anschutz
Medical Campus. From there he joined the CU School of Medicine.
While in the
master’s program, he became involved in planning for the DAWN Clinic, a
student-run free clinic for uninsured adults in Aurora that opened in 2015.
incredible how much it has evolved in four years. There was a steep learning
curve to figure out how we organize and operate, and how we could build those
community networks. It’s become smoother, and we’ve expanded the specialties
that are allowed to have at the clinic.”
Gonzales, an inductee into the Gold Humanism Society and a member of the School of Medicine Diversity Council, volunteered with DAWN as a medical student, and learned to appreciate the
clinic’s interprofessional approach to health care.
example, there are very few opportunities to work with occupational therapists
and get to see their approach to patient care through their lens,” he said. “As
a medical professional, I need to know what they are doing and how they look at
patients so I know when it’s appropriate to refer patients to them.”
fourth year of medical school, Gonzales, 31, has become active in lesbian, gay,
bisexual and transgender activities. At the DAWN Clinic he has helped organize
a monthly multi-disciplinary clinic for LGBT patients. He and a second-year
student have organized a Prism chapter for LGBT medical students.
will serve his surgical residency at University of Colorado School of Medicine.