Advocating for increased representation of students with DACA status in medicine

The main focus of this taskforce is to create a safe space for DACA individuals by meeting as many of the needs that this group faces daily, including financially, scholarly, politically, and mentally.



Develop own program and database of DACAmented medical professionals at every level including undergrad, med school, residency, fellowship, and attending with the goal of creating a network of professionals in Chicago that can mentor younger premeds/med students.


Connect with IL organizations and government officials in order to increase our voices politically- path for citizenship, financial aid, etc.


Work with medical schools throughout Chicago to advocate for our DACAmented students; establish scholarships/grants to cover costs of renewing DACA (can cost up to $2,000) and/or to help with education costs; host volunteer events to strengthen our partnerships at various community organizations that specifically cater to immigrant communities/DACA individuals.


Establish a list of scholarships that provide full rides to colleges/medical schools throughout the country and support DACA; host events related to financing as a DACA scholar.


Create a safe space for DACAmented students pursuing careers in medicine; spread awareness regarding ways in which immigration status can affect mental health.

I grew up undocumented. I still am. I live my life two years at a time as a DACA Medical Student. I represent my immigrant community in spaces I thought I would not be a part of because my immigration status. In everything I do, I embody the value that I was raised with- persistence, perseverance, discipline, and initiative. After my sister, I am the second to pursue a graduate degree, but the first to pursue an MD.

José Antonio Ibarra Rodríguez, MS1 Rush Medical College



We partnered with MOLA’s Mentorship Program to create DACA Hogares. Our mentorship program is open to all DACA students and allies. Our mentors range from medical students to attendings. Our mentees include undergrad, postbaccalaureate, and medical students (high school students are welcome to apply!). Application for the 2022-2023 cohort opens in late summer.


Sonia Oyola, MD

Faculty advisoR

Dr. Sonia Oyola has been a Family Medicine Physician since 1997. Her current role as Director of Medical Student Education and the Family Medicine Elective at the University of Chicago, her work as a clinician at Heartland Health Centers, her research in Domestic Violence and Health Disparities experienced by survivors of Sexual Assault and running a non-profit that supports survivors of domestic violence and domestic violence shelters, all bring her tremendous joy and meaning.

Mark Kuczewski, PhD


Dr. Mark G. Kuczewski is the Fr. Michael I. English, S.J., Professor of Medical Ethics and the director of the Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy. He served as the project manager to include Dreamers in medical education, resulting in Stritch becoming the first medical school in the nation to welcome DACA students.

Isa Alvarez, BA


Isa graduated from UChicago in 2019 with a B.A. in History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine (HIPS). Currently, she works as a Clinical Research Coordinator for the Department of OB/GYN at Rush Medical College and will be starting a Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Program at WashU this fall.

Estefanía Pérez, BS


Estefanía is currently a first-year medical student at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), College of Medicine, making her the first DACA student to be accepted into UIC’s MD program. Through the Urban Medicine Program at UIC, she provides health classes for patients at Community Health, the largest free community clinic serving uninsured patients in the nation.

Jovany Soto

daca hogares co-chair

Jovany Soto is a 4th year premed biomedical engineering student at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). He was raised in Orland Park. Whenever he is not studying, you’ll find him at concerts or running recreationally.

As someone who has DACA, I noticed the lack of resources and spaces available for students interested in pursuing careers in medicine. This is the reason I started the Aves del Paraíso Task Force. Our mission as a Task Force is to create a safe space for DACA pre-med and medical students, a space free of judgement and full of familismo.

Isa Alvarez, Founder of Aves del Paraíso