Julia’s relationship with GGC began in 2013 with the opening of the Flagship SMART® Clinic at Sullivan High School in Chicago. To help ensure the success of the new SMART® Model, Melanie Ginn, President and CEO of GGC, enlisted the help of a few of that year’s Hispanic Heritage Youth Award winners in Chicago, including Julia. Their guidance and vision for a health fair was a key element in the effectiveness of utilizing back-to-school events for a high consent rate. Julia was soon brought onto the SMART® Team as an award winner, fresh out of high school, and she continued to be an asset within SMART® for seven years as a patient support specialist at both the Sullivan High School and Kilmer Elementary SMART® Clinics.
Julia now works alongside GGC’s Vice President of Information Management, Karina Rincon, in eTHOS, the Knowledge Management System for the SMART® Model, specifically tracking SMART® Centers and Clinics for accuracy and consistency in data entry. Julia’s tenacity and the extra attention she places into these details helps equip all SMART® Teams with the information needed to continue successful delivery of a signature feature of the Model, Active Care, with an emphasis on meeting Whole Child needs. In addition, as the Model continues to expand nationally, Julia supports the GGC Team as a part of the Medical Services Organization (MSO).
Julia’s time with SMART® has catapulted her interest in health care to an aspiration to become a medical doctor: “I never would have thought that winning that award would completely change the trajectory of my life,” she says. In 2021, she completed a postbaccalaureate program in medical studies at Dominican University. As she continues to work on moving onward to medical school, she will continue to be integral within the SMART® Model. Julia also earned a Bachelor of Science in biological sciences with a minor in sociology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She is fluent in English and Spanish and advanced in French.