Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Mario Flores, Nurse and YED Alumni

Share This


Mario Flores in the Healing Gardens at Cedars-Sinai

When Cedars-Sinai nurse Mario Flores was a student at Fairfax High, his chemistry teacher asked if anyone in the class was interested in a career in healthcare. He raised his hand, and in that moment, his life changed.

“You think everyone in a hospital is a doctor, but then I got here and I saw there were so many other options.”

Mario’s teacher told him about the Youth Employment and Development (YED) program at Cedars-Sinai. Through the program, local students get hands-on experience and mentoring in the healthcare field.

“I applied for the YED program and got in,” says Mario. “My junior year I was assigned to the rehab floor. I answered phones and delivered things. I just helped wherever I was needed.”

Working closely with Cedars-Sinai staff inspired Mario to start thinking about what he would do after high school.


Read: Faces of Cedars-Sinai: Health Educator Aja Johnson


“You think everyone in a hospital is a doctor, but then I got here and I saw there were so many other options,” says Mario. “I was really inspired by all the people doing good here.”

Mario, who came to the US with his family as a refugee from El Salvador, stayed in the YED program for two years. After finishing high school, he was able to start working as a temp in the medical center. He spent time working in the medical records department, then as a patient transporter, and finally in case management.

“It hadn’t really occurred to me that I could be a nurse, but then I thought, ‘I could do that.'”

“I met a nurse named Art in case management and he told me I should go to nursing school,” says Mario. “It hadn’t really occurred to me that I could be a nurse, but then I thought, ‘I could do that.'”

He started nursing school in 2004 and finished in 2009β€”he was the first in his family to go to college. Mario left his temp position to focus on school full-time, but he always knew he wanted to come back to Cedars-Sinai someday.

“I graduated on a Friday and got a call from Cedars-Sinai on Monday,” Mario says. “9 years later, here I am.”

Now Mario is a nurse in the ICU. He credits the YED program with guiding his career and showing him another path in life.

“I had a vision of how I wanted my life to be, but where I grew up there were gangs and really nothing positive,” says Mario. “I got this great opportunity to come here, and I got to see a different side of the worldβ€”it changed my life.”


The YED program is just one of the ways Cedars-Sinai is working toward a healthier Los Angeles. Learn more about our community benefit programs.

Share This