Mónica Guerrero Vázquez began working at Centro SOL as a program coordinator when the organization was founded in 2013 – focused on promoting equity in health and opportunity for Latinos. “Since the first days of Centro SOL,” she said, “I have been very involved with the community, aware of the challenges they face, hand-holding them to keep moving forward, and implementing programs that tackle health challenges.”
Mónica’s efforts were inspired by her own personal experience as an immigrant from Ecuador and a newcomer to Baltimore, Maryland: “These labels and identities that I did not choose for myself – ‘Latino minority’ and ‘woman of color’ – pushed me, a lifelong outsider thrown into a community of outsiders, to spend my career partnering with Baltimore Latinos to build coalitions, foster opportunities, and improve health and wellbeing of my community.”
Her work was accelerated by the Bloomberg American Health Initiative at Johns Hopkins, which selected her as a fellow and supported her to earn a Master’s in Public Health. The education she received at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has helped her to make an even greater impact.
Since graduating from the program, Mónica has been promoted to executive director of Centro SOL. She also serves as a commissioner for the Governor’s Commission on Suicide Prevention, where she is helping to address suicide at the state level, and she has led the COVID-19 response for Latinos, tackling food insecurity and misinformation.
She remains focused on the people at the center of her work. “Whenever I try to solve a problem for the community, I make sure that I hear the voices of those affected first,” she said.