About US

Mission Statement: to improve diversity in the healthcare and STEM fields by providing free, one-on-one mentoring and educational programs to promising, socioeconomically disadvantaged high school and college students.


The demographics in the U.S.A is changing rapidly. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 25 years, the so-called “minority” populations, combined, will become the majority in the United States; however the diversity in the healthcare workforce is lagging behind. In 2014 African Americans, Hispanic Americans and American Indians together constitute nearly 38 percent of the U.S. population; however they make up 19% of nurses (AACN 2013), 8.9% of physicians (AAMC 2014) and 13.3% of dentists (ADEA 2013).

Since minority-providers tend to serve their own communities (Porterfield DS et al. J Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved; 2003; 14:256), this lack of diversity is proposed to play a major role in leading to provider shortages and health disparities among different U.S populations (Sullivan Commission on Diversity Report 2007). The need to improve diversity among healthcare providers is widely recognized by Colleges and Universities.

Noticing the shortage of a College Counselors (954 student for 1 counselor in CA; California Dept of Education Data May, 2016), coupled with the lack of easily accessible mentorship programs that provide individualized guidance based on the students interests and strengths, Pediatrician, Adjunct Associate Professor Ozlem Equils, MD from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA School of Medicine founded non-profit MiOra (means my light, pronounced me-ora) in California in June 2015. MiOra’s goal is to help promising high school and college students, interested in a career in STEM or healthcare fields, with college entry and completion. MiOra tackles the expensive costs associated with getting into medical school, making it more affordable and realistic for those who come from lower or middle class backgrounds that might not have the resources or funds to attain private counseling or other medical school application services.

Our Team

Our team collectively has more than 40 years of mentoring experience

Ozlem EquilsDr. Ozlem Equils, Founder and President


Adjunct Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center/UCLA School of Medicine

Medical Director at Pfizer Inc.

Michael DeichtMichael Deitch, Chief Executive Officer

Regional Director – Western United States, The American Heart Association



Dr Chris Da Costa 
Vice President of Clinical Development with Synthetic Biologics

Advisors to MiOra are Professionals from Prestigious STEM and Healthcare Organizations

Advisors to MiOra include professionals from the American Academy of Pediatrics; American Association of Immunologists; American Society of Engineering Educators; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; Pepperdine University; University of Pittsburgh; and National Science Foundation.

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