Youth at Ruiz Event: These are the Issues We Face in Eastern CV

Feb. 1, 2013 / By



Congressman Raul Ruiz was recently sworn in to represent the 36th Congressional District of California


Congressman Raul Ruiz is not a politician; he is a public servant and physician dedicated to serving the community. The son of farmworkers, Congressman Ruiz grew up in Coachella and learned at an early age that the key to attaining the American Dream was hard work and a great education. In the summer of 1990, under the hot desert sun, Raul walked from business to business in the Coachella Valley asking them to invest in their community – by contributing to his education. With each investment for college, he made a promise to come back home and serve the community as a physician.

Accomplishments at a glance:

  • Graduated magna cum laude at UCLA
  • Became the first Latino to receive three graduate degrees from Harvard University – a Medical Doctorate, a Masters in Public Policy and a Masters in Public Health
  • Returned to the Coachella Valley in 2007 to work as an emergency physician at Eisenhower Medical Center, the Coachella Valley’s only nonprofit hospital
  • Senior Associate Dean at the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine
  • Founder and director of the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative
  • Founded a pre-med mentorship program, the Future Physician Leaders program, for students from underserved communities who, like him in 1990, want to become doctors and return to their community to serve
  • Helped open clinics giving free care and health education to underserved communities throughout the Coachella Valley

Doing the Right Things for the Right Reasons

During and after his education at Harvard, Congressman Ruiz also volunteered and worked abroad. He spent a year as a medical student with Partners In Health, bringing health care to the poor in Mexico. In El Salvador and Serbia, he served as consultant to the ministers of health on emergency healthcare reform.

Congressman Ruiz returned to the Coachella Valley, where he utilized his education and experience to not only lead but also serve as a physician. As the founder and director of the Coachella Valley Healthcare Initiative, he brought together stakeholders to improve public health and healthcare access in the Coachella Valley.

Congressman Ruiz’s commitment to community service and his humanitarian efforts on behalf of vulnerable populations have earned recognition throughout the Coachella Valley:

  • In 2009, he received the Influential Latino of the Year Award from the Inland Empire Hispanic Image Awards
  • His early humanitarian response efforts for the victims of the Haiti earthquake as the founding medical director for the Jenkins-Penn Haitian Relief Organization earned him the Commander’s Award for Public Service from the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne
  • The Rancho Mirage Chamber of Commerce and San Gorgonio Pass Hispanic Chamber of Commerce awarded him the Humanitarian of the Year Award in 2010
  • Recently received the Person of the Year 2011 award from The Desert Sun Newspaper’s Desert Magazine.

Visit Coachella Unincorporated


Coachella Unincorporated

Coachella Unincorporated is a Youth Media Startup in the East Coachella Valley, funded by the Building Healthy Communities Initiative of The California Endowment and operated by New America Media in San Francisco. The purpose of the project is to report on issues in the community that can bring about change. Coachella Unincorporated refers to the region youth journalists cover but also to the unincorporated communities of the Eastern Valley with the idea to “incorporate” the East Valley into the mainstream Coachella Valley mindset.