Cassandra Kasten-Arias, MD
Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine; Cassandra grew up in a bilingual and bicultural home in Aloha, Oregon as the daughter of a Mexican immigrant mother and US-born white father. Growing up she witnessed family and friends delay health care out of fear, financial burden, and the stress of navigating the health system in a different language. This lived health inequity experience fueled her motivation to study medicine in order to advocate for underserved communities. Through the support of the Ford Family Foundation, she was able to attend college at the University of Portland where she earned a B.S. in Biology and Spanish.
Both in undergrad and medical school, she co-founded and coordinated mentoring programs to address higher education disparities for minority students. She co-founded the Pay It Forward mentorship program at OHSU to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine who will one day serve as advocates for their communities. Prior to starting medical school, she volunteered as a Spanish medical interpreter at Southwest Community Health Center, a free clinic, to bridge language and cultural barriers for her community. As a medical student she continued to promote accessible care and social justice by volunteering as an interpreter at free clinics and fairs, teaching her peers medical Spanish through OHSU’s Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA) chapter, serving as the Diversity and Inclusion Liaison for her class, organizing advocacy events, and phone-banking for the passage of a measure to decriminalize drug addiction and expand treatment. Her research in medical school focused on asthma exacerbation care among migrant and seasonal farmworker children. Cassandra is overjoyed to train in full spectrum Family Medicine at Santa Rosa. Her current clinical interests include reproductive health, addiction medicine, mental health, and community health. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, playing board games, singing, playing acoustic guitar, spending time with loved ones, and cuddling with her dog, Frida.