Portrait by Devi Pride Photography.
Carmin Powell, M.D.
Born in Monterey and raised in Santa Cruz through the ’80s and ’90s, I know that my life today as the director of pediatrics at Watsonville Community Hospital is the reality of my parents’ dream for me to become anything I wanted to be.
Despite being “the only one” in most settings growing up—the only Black child in the classroom or on the playground—I never doubted my potential, thanks to the constant love and support of our small but active Black community in Santa Cruz. Witnessing the hard work of people like my mother, the founding director of African-American Student Life at UC-Santa Cruz, as well as organizations like the local NAACP chapter and family churches such as Progressive Missionary Baptist Church, I learned a critical lesson: Community isn’t a given. It’s created through investing in the people and places that matter to you.
This lesson has served me well. Whether studying biomechanical engineering at Stanford University, conducting research at the National Institutes of Health, or pursuing my medical degree at Ohio State University, I have seen the power of community in promoting the success of all.
Since returning home, first to Stanford to complete my residency at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital and now back to Santa Cruz County, I am even more aware of the importance of having a diverse community of mentors, colleagues, and friends. Much has changed over the years, yet unfortunately I remain one of the only Black women or people of color in most spaces here.
Thus, I am committed to making it possible for more people who look like me to feel welcomed, included, and valued here in Santa Cruz County.