Clinic Transforms Valladares From ‘Undecided College Student’ to Future Doctor!

Encouraged to volunteer at WFC by his mother, Roberto was unaware of the lasting impact his high school internship would have on his life. In his last year at Stanford Medical School, Roberto Valladares, the teen that walked into WFC unsure of the career goals he wanted to pursue, is doing his residency in orthopedic surgery. “My experience at the Westminster Free Clinic is the single, biggest factor that motivated me to pursue medical school,” shares Valladares. For Valladares, it is the hands-on exposure students are provided at WFC that “frequently builds and strengthens teen’s dreams of becoming doctors, surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals.”

Like many current high school volunteers at WFC, Roberto is a first-generation Guatemalan-American and the first in his family to attend college in the United States. “Volunteering at the clinic truly changed my life,” shares Roberto, who prior to his experience at WFC “was taking general education classes at Moorpark College with no idea of what to major in or what career path to follow.” Serving his community inspired Valladares to pursue the goal of becoming a doctor. “There were countless times when this dream was strengthened by patients encouraging me to become a doctor,” recalls Roberto. “The dream grew even stronger with encouragement from the doctors,” he adds.

The semester after beginning volunteering at WFC, Roberto returned “with a new fire to excel in school” because of his experiences at clinic, taking on 19 pre-med units and earning straight A’s and a perfect 4.0 GPA that semester. “I made a complete one eighty and this enormous accomplishment was made possible by the driving desire I had gained for my goal while volunteering at the clinic,” says Roberto. Valladares went on to make Moorpark College’s Dean’s list, as well as the National Dean’s list. Roberto transferred to Westmont College, where he double majored with a B.S. in Biochemistry and a B.A. in Latin American Studies.

“The clinic helped me transition from an undecided college student to a future doctor with hopes of serving the increasingly diverse population in our state,” shares Valladares. Roberto decided to pursue an additional year at Stanford Medical School to conduct full-time orthopedic surgery-based research in Dr. Stuart B. Goodman’s laboratory.

After finishing at Stanford Medical School, Dr. Roberto Valladares moved on to the University of Virginia, School of Medicine where he is doing his residency in the Orthopedic Surgery Division. He is now married with one child.

One of Westminster’s First Students Becomes a Chiropractor

Angela Chen, DC volunteered at Westminster Free Clinic from 1995-1999 when the clinic first started. After receiving her Doctors of Chiropractic license Dr. Chen volunteered at Westminster until she got married. She now has her own full time practice in Newbury Park and has a new baby girl.

Westminster Community Care Center proudly serves the East Ventura County area, including Thousand Oaks, Newbury Park, Westlake Village, Oak Park, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Camarillo, and Fillmore.