Lindsay Dacuan was born in Seattle, WA. Her mother, Sheryle Dacuan, traveled to the Philippines to marry her father so the couple could live together in the United States. When Lindsay was young, her grandmother also immigrated from the Philippines to help take care of Lindsay and her two older brothers. Lindsay’s grandma was also Lindsay’s first and greatest roommate throughout her childhood.
Born premature 9 weeks early at 3 pounds and 14 ounces, Lindsay faces a permanent hearing disability that will follow her throughout her life. With only her mother working to support the family, Lindsay witnessed from a young age the challenges of living in a low-income family, particularly when her mother continued to work even through breast cancer diagnosis and recovery to provide for her and her siblings. She also grew up hearing the stories of her grandmother, who grew up making a living selling fish door to door in the Philippines and as a teenager had to flee into the jungle to hide from Japanese soldiers during World War II. Through admiring the hard work and bravery of these two women, Lindsay was inspired to work hard, never be scared, always be kind and believe that she can achieve her goals.
Through these inspirations, Lindsay worked hard and was selected as one of 100 students given a full scholarship to study abroad in Japan for a summer during high school, where she a personal bridge between her family and her host family who had held resentments towards each other’s cultures from World War II. She also worked various part-time jobs from the age of 15 to financially support herself and her family, while still keeping her long-term goals in sight, graduating at the top of her class as president, concert mistress of her high school orchestra and captain of her swim team. She also grew in her Catholic faith, which was important to her in remaining her resolve and dedication to her goals.
With the vision of becoming a leader in a career that would serve others, Lindsay won the Gates Millennium Scholarship in her senior year of high school. The scholarship identifies high-performing minority students with the potential to become leaders in America’s future and awards them with a full paid scholarship for up to ten years of undergraduate and graduate studies. She chose to attend the University of California, San Diego, where she majored in Sociocultural Anthropology. During her time at UCSD, she was able to start becoming the leader she envisioned by spending a summer in Indonesia working with children with disabilities and six months working with people living with HIV in Ghana. She also became coordinator of Alternative Breaks at UCSD in her final year, where she facilitated the development of 16 different community development projects, sending over 200 students and faculty to participate in service projects around the world. Significantly, when Typhoon Haiyan (or Yolanda, as known to locals) struck the Philippines, she was charged with the heavy task of working with students going to the Philippines to devise ways to serve the Filipino community in such a devastating time.
Lindsay currently is getting her Master of Public Health at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. She recently completed an internship at the Centers for Disease Control focusing on federal travel restriction policies in the wake of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. She hopes to continue in federal work, eventually becoming a champion for Asian American Pacific Islander health. Asian American Pacific Islanders face many health disparities that harm quality and length of their lives, yet efforts to reach and help this population is underrepresented both in public health initiatives and the low number of Asian American Pacific Islander public health professionals. She hopes to leave a legacy that she improved the health of Asian American Pacific Islanders across the country, drawing upon fond memories of her AAPI friends and relatives to inspire her during this journey.
Lindsay owes her success to God, her mother, her grandmother, her brothers, her best friends, the communities she has lived and worked in and all that have mentored and given her advice throughout her life.