At Vanderbilt, Thomas founded La Escalera de Escalante—a bilingual library and literacy program for Latino children in the Nashville community. The organization operates within a predominantly Hispanic apartment complex, allowing for increased access and improved interface between the community and the organization. With the support of other Ingram Scholars and Vanderbilt students, La Escalera de Escalante has added many other classes, such as tutoring, early childhood literacy, girls’ club, boys’ club, and English classes for adults. These programs coupled with regular health fairs, nutrition classes, and physician outreach days sponsored by Siloam Family Health Center provided a holistic support system for the immigrant community. During his time at Vanderbilt, Thomas also began studying the intersection of medicine and business to evaluate its potential for increasing access to health care. Thomas traveled to Mozambique for one of his summer projects to conduct a market assessment for the Vanderbilt Institute of Global Health. The results of the assessment were shared with The HealthStore Foundation to catalyze its potential interest in expanding into Mozambique. As a biomedical engineer, Thomas and his teammates designed an affordable biogas digester to provide a sustainable source of cooking fuel in Bangladesh. This project won the Thomas G. Arnold Prize for Biomedical Engineering Design. Additionally, Thomas served as a board intern at Siloam and competed for the Vanderbilt Men’s Cross Country team.
Thomas is currently a first-year medical student at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine. He has continued to serve as a board intern at the Siloam Family Health Center and has participated as part of the program and strategic development committees. Thomas continues to develop his interest in developing market-driven and value-based approaches to increase access to health care.