Tomás Guarnizo is a public health professional committed to health equity and social justice. Prior to his selection as a National Urban Fellow, Tomás worked as a Senior Program Analyst at the Maternal Child & Adolescent Health Division of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). As a Senior Program Analyst, Tomás advised leadership on division-wide initiatives to increase healthcare access to California’s mothers, children, and adolescents by providing strategic planning and project management support. He was also an active member of the Health Equity Workgroup at the Center for Family Health where he volunteered his time to uplift and operationalize equity and social justice-oriented policies across CDPH, including the development of CDPH’s civic engagement initiative.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Tomás was appointed to work at the California
Testing Task Force (CA TFF) as Health Equity Lead Analyst. At the CA TFF, he led and supported the implementation of equity-focused COVID-19 testing interventions to increase testing access to California’s underserved and underrepresented communities (e.g. undocumented individuals, uninsured populations, individuals experiencing homelessness, farmworkers, refugees, and indigenous communities). Prior to joining CDPH, Tomás was a Program Coordinator at the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, where he assisted in the development of statewide health equity programs to better serve California’s immigrant community. Before joining public service, Tomás worked towards highlighting the importance of equity in healthcare as a Medical Interpreter and Outreach Specialist.
Tomás received his Bachelor of Arts in Cognitive Science and Minor in Studio Art from Vassar College, as a QuestBridge scholar. For his graduating thesis, Tomás explored the effects of identity on resilience and self-regulation in low-income students at prestigious universities. Upon graduating, he traveled to Cuba, with the Weitzel Barber Travel Prize, to study the relationship between Cuban and US American art. During his time at Vassar College, Tomás also co-hosted a Latinx music and culture radio show, Bossa Nova and So Much More.
Tomás was born in Bogotá, Colombia, and migrated to Orlando, FL with his family when he was 9 years old. He is a current lead member of ColombiaConexion, where he co-leads grassroots fundraising projects to promote peacebuilding and sustain social justice in Colombia. In his spare time, he enjoys cycling, drawing, and curating world music playlists. He is a native Spanish speaker.
As a National Urban Fellow, Tomás aims to integrate his direct service experience with his knowledge of public policy to enact sustainable social change. At the McCourt School of Public Policy, he aims to develop the essential management and analytical skills necessary to become an accountable change agent, and better understand current policy challenges and future opportunities. Tomás is also extremely eager for the mentorship component of the program, where he aims to apply the knowledge and skills he develops during his studies to learn how to most efficiently operationalize equity and leadership principles in a wide range of public service sectors. In the long run, his ultimate goal at NUF is to build the foundations necessary to thoughtfully establish equity at all institutional levels to build and be part of public service institutions that uphold the dignity, inclusion, and well-being of those we aim to serve, alongside a supportive community of social justice leaders