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HSF Alumni

Michael Galvez, MD

  • Gender: Male
  • University: University of California, Berkeley
  • Undergraduate Degree: Cell and Developmental Biology
  • University: Stanford University
  • Graduate Degree: MD
  • Hometown: San Francisco
  • State: California
  • Organization: Valley Children's Hospital
  • Position Title: Director, Pediatric Hand and Upper Extremity

Born in San Francisco, California, and raised in nearby Walnut Creek, Michael is the middle of three boys. His parents are originally from Lima, Peru. An academic late bloomer, he says he didn’t do well in high school. “I was working several jobs and did not know how to study.” But then things changed. “I got my act together,” he said, “after working in a laboratory that was helping map the human genome…. The experience motivated me to study and do well in school.” 

He enrolled in Diablo Valley College (DVC), which proved to be a crucial steppingstone to academic and professional success. He told Diablo Valley College Newsmakers that he chose the school, because it had the best reputation for transferring students to UC and state universities.

He added, “DVC allowed me to start from scratch, learn to study, and eventually to excel academically…. I went from getting C’s in high school science and math courses, to getting all A’s with the help of professors, tutoring, other students, and my own hard work.”

He eventually transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, and received a BA in Cell and Developmental Biology. From there he spent two years doing pulmonary medicine research at the University of California, San Francisco, before attending medical school at Stanford University and later returning to complete his residency in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. He is grateful for the HSF scholarships that helped him attend both undergraduate and medical school.

“HSF scholarships not only provide financial support to students that are trying to get ahead, but also helps their confidence as they go against the grain in pursuing their dreams,” he said. He still attends HSF events whenever possible.

In 2018, he completed a fellowship at the University of Washington, where he obtained upper extremity training in trauma, microsurgery, and congenital hand surgery.

Much of his work in the medical field—as a researcher, doctor, and volunteer—has been with underprivileged communities, explaining his rational in the DVC Newsmakers profile as, “Having grown up uninsured with poor access to health care, I have always had a personal drive to provide better access and care for the underserved.”

His advice for those contemplating higher education: “Have a plan, and a back-up plan, and a second back-up plan. Find a mentor that you aspire to be like, and remember that you can have multiple mentors as you pursue your dreams.”