Board eligible in general pediatrics, Dr. Cristina Vargas joined Valley Children’s in August 2021 as a pediatrician at Olivewood Pediatrics in Merced.
After earning both a master’s degree in biomedical and translational science and a medical degree from the University of California, Irvine, Dr. Vargas went on to complete her pediatric residency training at Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program, affiliated with Stanford University School of Medicine, where she served a year as chief resident. During her time as chief resident, Dr. Vargas also worked as a pediatrician at Camarena Health in Madera.
Dr. Vargas is a member of the Academic Pediatric Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Pediatric Trainees, where she served a year as Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program’s representative.
Dr. Vargas has authored and participated in several research and clinical projects on topics including aspects of care related to Type 2 diabetes, which was published in The Diabetes Educator. She has also shared her expertise through oral presentations on a variety of topics, including immigrant health in the Central Valley, opioids and microaggressions in healthcare, and has been involved in school and community-based healthcare initiatives and events.
While in residency, Dr. Vargas led the development of several programs and curricula. Recently, she led the development of a collaborative mentorship program with UC Merced and the Latino Medical Student Association which supports Central Valley students from underrepresented or disadvantaged backgrounds to pursue a career in medicine. She was also instrumental in coordinating Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including creating new resident workspaces to maintain social distancing, programming to support resident well-being during the pandemic and regular resident town hall meetings to facilitate communication and build resiliency among residents during an uncertain time.
Dr. Vargas is currently a Health Equity Scholar at the Center for Health Equity Education and Advocacy at Cambridge Health Alliance in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This new innovative initiative teaches clinicians to effectively advocate for health and social justice issues where they live and practice. To this end, Dr. Vargas uses traditional and new media to advocate for health. She has been a featured guest on the Valley Children’s Voice podcast and on Spanish-language health segments on Univision. In 2020, she received the Resident Advocacy Award by Valley Children’s Pediatric Residency Program, which awarded to the resident who has shown deep commitment to advocacy in healthcare.