Martha Romero, RN, BSN
Growing up in East Los Angeles’ Ramona Gardens Housing Projects, Martha Romero lived not too far away from White Memorial Medical Center, where she would one day work. From a very young age, she knew that the gang lifestyle, which was rampant in her neighborhood, was not for her, and decided to focus on her education. School was her escape from the violent reality – by the time she graduated from high school, Martha had lost over 20 friends and family members to gang-related shootings.
It was around this time that Martha became pregnant with her first child. To provide a better life for his family, the father of Martha’s child enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. Tragically, two years later, when he was home on a short leave, he was killed in a random drive-by shooting during his welcome home party, leaving his family devastated and grieving.
Still, Martha was committed to her education in spite of these tragic circumstances. Facing a hectic schedule, emotional struggle, and the burden of supporting a family, Martha asserts that the turning point in her situation was when she received her acceptance into the TELACU/White Memorial Medical Center Health Careers Program. The Program not only empowered her as a student and as a professional, but by granting her a scholarship, it significantly alleviated many of the hardships she was facing, elevating her and her family’s quality of life. Participating in the Program allowed her to buy her own computer, meaning she would no longer have to stay late at school, and that she would no longer have to worry about where her family’s next meal would come from.
A 2007 graduate of the Program, Martha’s commitment is in direct alignment with that of the Program: alleviating the critical shortage of bilingual, culturally-sensitive nurses in the health care system. Her commitment and passion has drawn the attention of White Memorial Medical Center President & CEO, Beth Zachary, who has provided Martha with opportunities to tackle head-on some important issues that face the health care industry with former U.S. Congresswoman Hilda Solis, the California Board of Registered Nursing, and other influential forces in the State’s health care community.