2023–2024 NHLCC Scholar: Henry Valle-Ayala

Henry Valle-Ayala, PhD CandidateHenry Valle-Ayala
PhD Candidate
University of Colorado Boulder

Henry Valle-Ayala began his professional experience in High School, where he obtained his EMT licensure at 17 and worked within his local community and trauma center providing medical care and community outreach to various underserved and underrepresented patient populations.

Henry attended Western Connecticut State University where he received his BS in Chemistry (Biochemistry ACS Approved). During his undergraduate years, Henry continued to perform cardiac and cerebrovascular translational research and patient care in the ER, while performing synthetic biochemical research and teaching various undergraduate chemistry laboratory classes. It was during this time where Henry realized that not only is there a gap in access to acute and long-term medical care for people of his background, but a significant barrier in obtaining the skills and experience for minority students to apply for advanced medical or academic degrees.

Henry served as the Vice President of Minorities in Medicine and Collegiate Health Service Corps, to provide underrepresented and non-traditional students the experience required to apply for these fields.

Henry is currently a third-year doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder, where his thesis focuses on defining the cellular and tissue pathology of mutations within b-Myosin that cause cardiac disease.

Henry also serves as the Curriculum Coordinator chair of SCOPE, a STEM outreach program that introduces life science topics to school systems with large populations of underrepresented or only Spanish-speaking middle school students. As a first-generation undergraduate and the first to pursue an advanced degree in his family, Henry’s hope is to train the next generation of doctors and researchers with a similar background, to mend the gap in medical care and representation that these advanced fields face.