Crusade for Change cover

Crusade for Change

Internship leads Adolis Ramos ’19 down rewarding path of advocacy

By Alexis Baum

Photo: Anna Webster

Regis Today Spring 2019

As a wife, mother of two children, full-time registered respiratory therapist, and a recent graduate of the public health program at Regis North, you would think that Adolis Ramos ’19 doesn’t have much spare time for anything else.

Think again.

After landing an internship at the Alzheimer’s Association as part of her program at Regis North—Regis’ satellite campus in Lawrence, Massachusetts—Ramos knew she wanted to continue the fight against Alzheimer’s even after her internship ended. For a cause as important as Alzheimer’s, Ramos makes the time.

“I became passionate about the Alzheimer’s Association when I learned the impact this disease has on my Latino community and the lack of knowledge among us,” says Ramos. “I immediately felt the responsibility to help in any way possible.”

And that’s just what she did. As an official volunteer ambassador for the Alzheimer’s Association, Ramos dedicates about 15 hours per month to fighting the insidious disease that affects more than 5 million Americans and is more prevalent among blacks and Latinos, according to the National Institutes of Health (Alzheimer’s Disease in the Latino Community: Intersection of Genetics and Social Determinants of Health). And with NIH research projecting that number will skyrocket to 14 million by 2050, the world needs more advocates like Ramos.

I want to stand up for inequalities and give a voice to those who don’t have one. Regis taught me that in order to ask for change, one must be willing to be part of the change.

Adolis Ramos ’19

As a native Spanish speaker, Ramos has taken on the important role of translator at association events to ensure the entire audience understands critical facts and information. She has translated at events with hundreds of people.

“At first I was insecure about translating because I was nervous about public speaking, but I knew the task at hand was bigger than my personal insecurities,” says Ramos. “I am able to communicate important information to a widely underserved yet immensely impacted community, and that is tremendously rewarding.”

But her work doesn’t stop there. In 2018 and 2019, Ramos received a scholarship from the association to attend the Alzheimer’s Disease National Forum in Washington, D.C., where she learned more about public policy and the power of advocacy, and marched on Capitol Hill with fellow ambassadors.

“We work to enhance our relations with the federal government through personal contact with members of Congress,” says Ramos. “Part of my role as an ambassador is to build strong rapport with legislators on Capitol Hill to promote the association’s legislative priorities. When I was in D.C. in March, I had the opportunity to meet with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren to discuss Alzheimer’s disease awareness and treatments.”

Ramos credits the hybrid style of her Regis North classes—both on campus and online—as well as support from faculty and classmates as instrumental in enabling her to pursue her education as a full-time working mom.

“Juggling my personal life with school and my internship was challenging,” says Ramos. “But it gave me the desire to persevere and challenge myself even more. I learned that I’m stronger and more courageous, driven, and empathic than I knew. Regis has made me more confident not only in my work, but in myself.”

Ramos just graduated from Regis in May with her bachelor’s degree in public health, and she already has plans to pursue a master’s degree in the discipline starting this fall. Given her altruistic nature, it’s no surprise that she plans to use her education to help others.

“I want to stand up for inequalities and give a voice to those who don’t have one,” Ramos says. “Regis taught me that in order to ask for change, one must be willing to be part of the change.”

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