Last May, Carla Ibarra, MPH candidate at the Department of Population Sciences and Public Health, joined a cohort of 29 other students from across the nation for the first White House Mental Health Youth Action Forum. Over the course of her trip, she met with Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, MBA, First Lady Jill Biden, EdD, and actor/mental health advocate Selena Gomez — and delivered her message one-on-one to President Joe Biden.

The visiting cohort was divided into six teams, each of which addressed a key public health issue concerning young people in the United States. Ibarra’s team covered mental health issues prevalent in HIV-positive youths who are also part of traditionally marginalized groups, such as people of color, members of the LGBTQ+ community and immigrants.

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