Student Snapshot

Israel Mendez

Hometown: Morganton
Major: Public health studies, community health concentration
Year: Senior
Career goals: Become a physician assistant and operate a clinic

Why did you choose ECU?

The reason I came to ECU is because of (physician assistant) school. ECU is big on health care. Eventually, I want to open a clinic. Back home, we have one clinic, and it’s not free. People have to resort to the emergency room, and that’s not what it’s there for.

How did you get involved in providing health care in Nicaragua?

I’m involved in Every Nation Campus ministry here on campus. They advertised a medical mission trip to provide free care to people who don’t have the opportunity.

(In 2016, Mendez, raised $2,250 through social media to pay for a 10-day mission trip to Nicaragua. Service is important to him. A certified nursing assistant, Mendez was asked to be a clinic manager on his most recent trip.)

I could speak Spanish and understand medicine. The clinic opens at 9 a.m. but people start lining up at 5 a.m. People don’t know they’re diabetic, and they don’t know how to manage it.

What are you doing as a research assistant?

I work 15 hours a week talking with health leaders across North Carolina about health disparities. The project is with Dr. Joseph Lee, assistant professor of health education and promotion in the College of Health and Human Performance.

Another project is focusing on farmworker health and access to medical care. The project is assessing where farmworkers and their families get health information, as well as providing reliable, evidence-based information.

What other activities are you involved in?

I work for Pinnacle Home Care with special-needs patients. I work three days a week. We provide around-the-clock care. I’ve been doing it since freshman year. I volunteer (interpret) once a month at Pitt County Care Clinic. I’m an ECU Ambassador and a member of Sigma Nu fraternity.

You make time for the things you love. You stay busy. It’s good stress.