Eduardo Cisneros grew up in Huntington Park, one of several small Southeast Los Angeles communities surrounded by four freeways.
He developed an understanding early on how the poor air quality, combined with the low-income environment, could lead to some of the highest healthcare disparities in the country.
When Cisneros was 20 years old, he lost his father and his mother died in 2019. Both deaths were from what he saw as “a lack of high-quality healthcare and to the persistent healthcare disparities that are all too prevalent in communities of color and in Latino communities, so healthcare is personal to me.”
That reckoning led Cisneros to study hard and work harder to make a difference in the healthcare field. After graduating from Cal State Long Beach in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in political science/public policy, he served as policy coordinator at Latino Health Access in Santa Ana before moving on to becoming a policy advisor for the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Now, he’s focused on making a difference in the fight against the nation’s pandemic. Cisneros, who currently serves as director of civic engagement/government at AltaMed Health Services in Los Angeles, will join President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 Response Team later this month.
“I’ve spent my career at the intersection of government relations, advocacy and campaigns, including a stint in the federal government in the Obama Administration, so this work certainly is in my field,” Cisneros said. “That said, this is something else. I am beyond excited – truly humbled and honored – to be getting called to serve at the highest level of government, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. The White House.”
Cisneros said he is eager to get started on solving the public health and economic crises that plague the nation. He sees his role as a “huge responsibility and honor” and is excited to jump into the critical work ahead.
It’s a big task for a kid from Huntington Park.
“Early in my career, I remembered hearing about how ‘education is the great equalizer.’ Looking back on my academic and professional career, I couldn’t agree more,” Cisneros said. “And in this great nation of ours, anything is truly possible.”
He credits the solid foundation Cal State Long Beach provided him in getting to the White House.
“Cal State Long Beach changed my life,” he said. “The day that I got admitted to CSULB changed the trajectory of my career. Given my working-class, blue-collar family’s background – college, or even graduate school, wasn’t a given for me.
“I could not be more grateful to CSULB for the exceptional academic foundation it provided me, and for taking a chance on the public-school kid from Huntington Park.”
As a graduate student at the University of Chicago, Cisneros served in the administration of President Barack Obama as a regional special projects manager before joining the U.S. Department of Labor, where he served in various roles for three years, and SEIU Healthcare.
He said his experience in public policy and tackling large-scale problems was significant in him landing a job in D.C.
“I am excited that I will be able to jump right into the critical work ahead of us with managing this pandemic and getting us out of this public health crisis,” Cisneros said.
“I expect to be part of a highly professional group of leaders that recognize the value of people-oriented and family focused federal government – people and public servants that will listen to science, ensure public health decisions are informed by health professionals. And those who will promote trust, transparency, common purpose and accountability in our government.”