Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn hugs a high school friend while wearing his mortarboard during his graduation party at Marina Park in San Leandro to celebrate his achievement at UCSF’s School of Medicine. Photo by Jessica Christian / The Chronicle

From Dreamer to Doctor

Hats Off to the First Undocu­mented Graduate of UCSF Medical School

New Latthivongskorn’s story is a reminder of the power of the American Dream.

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In a front-page article in May, the San Francisco Chronicle told the story of how a young man born in Thailand became the first undocumented graduate in the history of UC San Francisco’s Medical School. At the Haas, Jr. Fund, we first met New Latthivongskorn several years ago, when he was part of an early wave of Dreamers who were telling their stories and speaking out boldly for immigration reform.

New’s courage and perseverance in the face of the huge challenges facing Dreamers in this country are awe-inspiring. In 2015, he told us about his journey as he went public with his undocumented status, became a high-profile advocate for the California DREAM Act and other policies, and enrolled as an undergraduate at UC Berkeley and later as a medical student at UCSF:

“When I finally started medical school, I made a commitment to follow my own aspirations and grow in new ways. I needed to keep myself accountable to something bigger, because my well-being is tied to my community’s well-being. I may not be able to be as active in the immigrant community while I am in medical school, but in a few years I’ll go back and be of even greater service, in a new, different, and—hopefully—more impactful way as a doctor that my community deserves.”

New’s medical education at UCSF focused on preparing him to provide care to medically underserved communities. He will begin his residency in June at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital.

Congratulations to New on completing his degree. We honor him and all of his fellow Dreamers for reminding us that everyone benefits when we create opportunities for all people to live up to their full potential.

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