Jon Santiago has spent his life in service to others. Whether as a Peace Corps volunteer, captain in the Army Reserves, or your local emergency room doctor at Boston Medical Center, he has committed his days and nights to working for the greater good.
Jon was born in Puerto Rico and moved to Boston when he was in elementary school. Although his family had come to Boston in search of greater opportunity, the city was in crisis when they arrived as the AIDS and gun violence epidemics were at their peak. Jon’s earliest memories are of the daily struggles his family faced while growing up in subsidized housing in Roxbury. When Jon was 10, he learned that his uncle had been diagnosed with HIV, a disease that would claim his life and leave his son, Jon’s cousin, an AIDS orphan. It was this family tragedy and his experiences in Roxbury that would spark a lifelong interest in medicine and service.
Looking for a better life for their children, Jon’s parents moved to Texas, where Jon went to public school, attended community college, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin. Captivated by public service and adventure, Jon joined the Peace Corps, organizing sugarcane workers and immigrants in the Dominican Republic; won a Fulbright Scholarship to study in Paris; and ultimately spent almost five years abroad working and traveling across Europe, Latin America, and Africa. He returned to Boston almost 10 years ago with a plan to study medicine and give back to the community. A graduate of Yale School of Medicine, Jon now works and cares for underserved communities as an emergency medicine doctor at Boston Medical Center, the city’s safety net hospital. He is a member of BMC’s CIR/SEIU Union.
Jon remains heavily involved in the community. He is an active participant in neighborhood meetings, has knocked on thousands of doors for progressive causes, and sits on the boards of the South End Community Health Center, Friends of the South End Library, Friends of Titus Sparrow Spark, and the Puerto Rican Veterans Park. In addition to his community activism and clinical responsibilities, Jon has worked to address health disparities and combat the opioid epidemic through policymaking. He led an effort to increase access to the state’s opioid prescription monitoring program, which played a role in reducing overprescribing in Massachusetts. Jon lives on Tremont Street with his wife Alexandra.
As grateful as he is to live and work in the neighborhood, Jon is concerned about where our community is headed. He is running for state representative to fight for a community where people can afford to live at any stage of their lives, where kids can go to quality schools and play outside on safe streets, where people can rely on efficient public transportation, and where bold action can be taken to address challenges from the opioid crisis to climate change.