TAG: "Students"

Pre-med student makes an impact


Axana Rodriguez-Torres of UC Davis honored for her student leadership.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres, who volunteers through the UC Davis Health System, plans to pursue degrees in public health and medicine.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres felt frustration and pain when her medical studies in Colombia were not recognized in the United States, where she and her family had been granted political asylum.

But now, as the UC Davis senior is recognized with the University of California President’s Outstanding Student Leadership Award, she shares a new understanding:

“As I’m pursuing my dreams, I’m helping others to pursue theirs,” said the 31-year-old. “This is why I needed to be here and discover another purpose in my life.”

UC President Janet Napolitano presented awards to Rodriguez-Torres of Elk Grove and a UCLA student wellness campaign at a meeting of the UC Board of Regents in Sacramento May 14.

Her impact across UC

“The work of these bright students has a tremendous impact not only on their home campuses but across the UC system and out in their communities,” said Napolitano. “I’m pleased to have a chance to recognize their efforts and dedication to tackling tough issues that affect us all.”

Rodriguez-Torres, a double major in neurobiology, physiology and behavior as well as psychology, is being recognized for helping coordinate the annual UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions National Conference, the largest such conference in the nation.

More than 7,500 attend the conference, and more than 80 percent of participants are high school, community college and UC students who are underrepresented in the field of medicine.

For the October 2013 conference, Rodriguez-Torres was responsible for the medical programming that brought to the conference about 50 of 700 speakers, including leaders of national organizations.

Helping with students’ struggles

Earlier, she met one of her own mentors through the conference and is committed to providing such opportunities for other students. “I’ve seen the struggles students go through. I can see I can do something about it,” said Rodriguez-Torres, who continues to serve on the conference’s organizing board as director of medical programming.

In nominating Rodriguez-Torres for the award, Adela de la Torre, vice chancellor of student affairs at UC Davis, wrote that her saga exemplifies a “tenacity of spirit that propels her social justice action.”

Rodriguez-Torres completed three years of medical school in Colombia before obtaining political asylum in the United States, where she cleaned houses, served fast food, and provided child care to help support her family and save for her education. As her English proficiency grew, she worked as an immigration consultant and a tax preparer for people with limited English.

Three associate degrees

Because her medical school credits from Colombia were not transferable, she studied at American River College — where she earned three associate degrees — before transferring to UC Davis.

Drawn to the university by the opportunity to work at the student-run Clinica Tepati in Sacramento, she has helped provide free care for the underserved, mostly Latino patients.

As a winner of a $10,000 Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship, she established a prevention-focused diabetes education class that extended the clinic’s work. Her project provides monthly classes in nutrition and diabetes prevention as well as Zumba fitness classes at All Hallows Parish in Sacramento.

After graduating in June, Rodriguez-Torres plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health at UC Davis and then a medical degree on her way to becoming an internist focusing on diabetes prevention.

View original article

CATEGORY: SpotlightComments Off

UC students receive president’s leadership awards


Coordinator of pre-med conference among those honored.

Axana Rodriguez-Torres, UC Davis

A UC Davis undergraduate student and a UCLA student program were recognized today (May 14) with the University of California President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership at the Board of Regents meeting in Sacramento.

Honored were Axana Rodriguez-Torres, a Davis student and Colombian immigrant majoring in psychology, and neurobiology, physiology and behavior; and the Student Wellness Commission’s “7,000 in Solidarity” campaign, led by UCLA student Savannah Badalich, who serves as UCLA’s undergraduate student wellness commissioner.

“The work of these bright students has a tremendous impact not only on their home campuses but across the UC system and out in their communities,” said President Janet Napolitano. “I’m pleased to have a chance to recognize their efforts and dedication to tackling tough issues that affect us all.”

Rodriguez-Torres is being recognized for coordinating the UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professional National Conference, the largest such conference in the nation. Her outreach efforts resulted in an annual conference attendance of 7,500 people, and more than 80 percent of participants were high school, community college and UC students who are underrepresented in the field of medicine.

Rodriguez-Torres also developed a prevention-focused Spanish-language diabetes education program now being offered at free clinics, churches and community centers across Sacramento, and secured a $10,000 foundation grant to make the program available online.

Rodriguez-Torres completed three years of medical school in Colombia before obtaining political asylum in the United States, where she cleaned houses, served fast food and provided childcare while she learned English. As her English proficiency grew, she worked as an immigration consultant and a tax preparer for those with limited English. Because her medical school credits from Colombia were not transferable, she enrolled at American River Community College before transferring to UC Davis. Her next goal is an M.D.-Ph.D. program.

Savannah Badalich, UCLA

The “7,000 in Solidarity Campaign,” a UCLA student effort launched last year by undergraduate Savannah Badalich, is being recognized for creating a campus culture where sexual assault is not tolerated. The campaign educates students and administrators about consensual sex, effective bystander intervention, institutional accountability and access to support for survivors of sexual assault.

The group has partnered with other students and organizations, and used art exhibits, training sessions and signed pledge cards to gather support from students and the community. In a testament to the power of their efforts, other colleges and universities across the country have adopted the campaign.

The University of California President’s Award for Outstanding Student Leadership was established in 2010 and recognizes undergraduate, graduate and professional students, as well as campus-based student organizations, for outstanding efforts in promoting and supporting multicampus initiatives. The award honors collaborative efforts that further the University of California’s mission of teaching, research and public service.

Nominations for this year’s awards were solicited from the chancellors at all 10 UC campuses and from the UC Student Association. A selection committee of staff from the UC Office of the President reviewed and scored each of the nominations, and President Napolitano selected the winners. Individual award recipients receive a $2,000 grant while the reward for an organization is $2,500.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Public health prep


Freshman thrives in research program.

Working with HERMOSA (Health & Environmental Research on Makeup Of Salinas Adolescents) helped build UC Berkeley freshman Maritza Cardenas' passion for research. (Photo by Robert Durell)

For Maritza Cardenas, life as a Berkeley freshman is exciting, and more than a little daunting. She is majoring in molecular and cellular biology, and plans to go to medical school. But there’s a minor hurdle: Freshman chemistry is the first laboratory class she’s ever had.

Growing up in the central California agricultural town of Salinas, Maritza didn’t get as much science prep as most of her fellow Cal classmates.

“I wasn’t very exposed to the idea of science in high school, but as I was applying to college and seeing how competitive it was, there was always this word ‘research.’ I think one of my main drives was being part of research — even though I really didn’t have a clear sense of what it meant.”

She got her chance to learn what it meant the summer after high school as one of 16 Salinas teens participating in a two-year program that trained them in public health and biomedical research while at the same time focusing on a potential health hazard to young women in the community.

The project, funded by UC’s California Breast Cancer Research Program, taught the students to design and carry out public health research and how to best reach out to their community to gather data and inform people about health risks. The teens also collected and prepared material for laboratory analysis.

The training focuses on potential dangers posed by chemicals known as endocrine disrupters, found in shampoos, face creams and other personal care products. Endocrine disrupters interfere with normal hormonal function, and are thought to pose a particular threat during the teen years when hormone-driven development accelerates.

The project, called HERMOSA (Health & Environmental Research on Makeup Of Salinas Adolescents), is a collaboration between Berkeley’s School of Public Health and Clinica de Salud del Valle de Salinas, a network of clinics providing primary health care to low-income and agricultural communities in Monterey County.

The team effort drew on a Salinas-based youth council developed by the public health school’s Center for Environmental Research and Children’s Health, or CERCH, where teens gain leadership experience and focus on environmental health issues of particular concern to the community. Public health school professor Kim Harley is a co-director of HERMOSA.

Kimberly Parra, the project’s other co-director and herself a Berkeley grad, praises Maritza’s discipline and persistence, but singles out one trait that she thinks has mattered most:

“The No.1 quality — the reason Maritza has been able to flourish — is that she really cares about her community and she’s very confident that she can influence it. She’s very humble at the same time.”

Growing up in Salinas, Maritza says her family was on Medi-Cal.

“We were receiving a lot of assistance. Being in that position, and seeing that it’s a big part of Salinas, I’m hoping to return home after medical school and start a clinic there.

“I see myself as the kind of doctor who has relationships with patients. I feel like I could be the kind of health provider that can educate patients, focusing on prevention, helping them help themselves.”

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Pediatric patients welcome canine friends


UC Davis veterinary medicine students bring cheer at Josh Dog Day.

UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine students introduce Josh the Dog to delighted pediatric patients

Therapy dogs — even stuffed animal dogs — can do wonders for hospitalized children.

Pediatric patients in the playroom were instantly cheered this week when UC Davis veterinary medicine students visited, bringing stuffed dogs to patients and providing quick tips on how to care for them.

The visit is an annual playroom event, hosted by the Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department and UC Davis Veterinary Medicine. The visit is based on the Josh and Friends Project, which helps transform anxious hospital stays for children into friendship-filled adventures to wellness.

Vet med students fundraise during the year to raise money to purchase stuffed dogs for Children’s Hospital patients.

“Our students have a passion for bringing healing to the lives of individuals, not just the four-legged kind, in our community. With this in mind, the goal of Josh Day is simple. We strive to bring hope and encouragement to the children and families of our community experiencing a medical difficulty,” said Diana Donckels, UC Davis veterinary club president.

View original article

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Grad students to present research on STDs, parasites in Latin America


UCLA Blum Center conference to feature latest research on health, poverty in Latin America.

UCLA graduate student Claire Bristow conducted research at a Peruvian university.

In Peru, HIV and syphilis are more widespread among transgender women and men who have sex with men, and so ensuring that these groups get tested and treated is crucial.

A research project supported by UCLA’s Blum Center for Poverty and Health in Latin America is contributing to efforts in Peru to make this happen.

Claire Bristow, a UCLA Ph.D. student in public health who conducted research in Peru, and Rebecca Foelber, a master’s student in public health who worked in Brazil on another project, will present their research on behalf of the center at its Second Annual Spring Conference May 6-7 at UCLA’s De Neve Auditorium. Bristow and Foelber were selected for the Blum Center’s inaugural Summer Scholars Program.

Conference participants, who include UCLA students, faculty and staff as well as policy and health professionals from 10 Latin American countries, will discuss the latest research on health and poverty in Latin America. The conference will also highlight solutions and projects such as Bristow’s.

“The Summer Scholars Program was developed for students to examine how poverty, government practices and policies, and other factors impact poor health in Latin America,” said Dr. Michael Rodriguez, Blum Center director. “More importantly, the scholars’ research can lead to better health practices and solutions in a region that is so desperately in need of them.”

Bristow spent last summer in Lima, Peru, where she developed a study that asked people in these high-risk groups what type of HIV and syphilis testing they would prefer.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Global Health Day to be April 26


UC Davis hosting annual event.

UC Davis and the University of California Global Health Institute will host global health leaders from California and beyond on Saturday, April 26, during the fourth annual UC Global Health Day.

Topics ranging from global health diplomacy, maternal and child health, animal health, emerging infectious diseases, economics, migrant health, and more will be presented by faculty and students from across the 10-campus University of California system.

Keynote speakers will include UC President Janet Napolitano, former U.S. secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Arizona.

“When we talk about global health, we are speaking about the health of people not only in developing countries, but also throughout the United States,” Napolitano said. “With five medical centers, world-class health research initiatives and top-ranked educational programs, the University of California is making an enormous impact on the health of populations across the world, including people in need right here in California.”

The annual event, being hosted by UC Davis, rotates among the UC campuses. Past events have taken place at Irvine, Berkeley and Riverside.

“Global health is an increasingly popular field of study at UC Davis and we are thrilled to be hosting UC Global Health Day this year,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, who will give welcoming remarks at the event. “Because of our particular strengths in agriculture, medicine, veterinary medicine and engineering, UC Davis is uniquely positioned to address the biggest challenges of health worldwide.”

Registration for UC Global Health Day is open until April 22: $50 general admission; $25 for students. For more information, visit the UCGHI website at: www.ucghi.universityofcalifornia.edu/index.aspx.

Two UC Davis professors — Andrew Hargadon, the Charles J. Soderquist chair in entrepreneurship at the Graduate School of Management, and Jonna Mazet, director of the One Health Institute in the School of Veterinary Medicine —  will jointly present a talk on “How Breakthroughs Happen.” Jonathan Samet, director of the Institute of Global Health at the University of Southern California, will speak about “Moving beyond Global Tobacco Control to Global Noncommunicable Disease Control.”

Students and faculty from every UC campus will be in attendance at the all-day event, which will also feature 60 poster presentations and 16 breakout sessions, covering a broad range of global health topics, including:

  • Migration and Human Trafficking in the Pacific Rim;
  • Innovation and Infrastructure for Slum Health: Advancing Technology to Work in Low-Resource Settings;
  • 21st Century Global Health Diplomacy;
  • Working Globally at the Human-Animal Interface to Improve Health for All; and
  • Measuring Women’s Empowerment through Participatory Action.

See a video about the 2013 UC Global Health Day at http://youtu.be/3s5KbWfPU9E.

The UC Global Health Institute was established in November 2009 in response to the growing demand from students and faculty interested in global health research and education. The UCGHI convenes people from across the UC system to collaborate on research projects, and provides education and training opportunities through workshops, courses, lectures and other events. The UCGHI is composed of three multi-campus Centers of Expertise — Migration & Health; One Health; and Women’s Health & Empowerment. These centers lead education and training programs to produce leaders and practitioners of global health, conduct innovative research, and develop international partnerships to improve the health of vulnerable people and communities in California and worldwide.

Patricia Conrad, a professor in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, is co-director of the One Health Center of Expertise and led the planning for 2014 UC Global Health Day.

“It’s exciting to see the enthusiasm for global health at UC Davis and across the UC campuses,” Conrad said. “The diversity of presentations at this year’s event, and the cross-section of disciplines of the faculty and student participants, is quite remarkable.”

The UC Global Health Institute is jointly led by director Haile Debas, former chancellor and dean of the School of Medicine at UC San Francisco, and Thomas Coates, the Michael and Sue Steinberg professor of global AIDS research at the UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine and director of the UCLA Center for World Health. The institute has received $4 million in funding from the Chan Soon-Shiong Family Foundation and $4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, in addition to funds from the UC Office of the President.

Media contacts:

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Saving diabetics from blindness in Libya


UC Berkeley grad student, professor, alum join forces in international public service project.

UC Berkeley optometry student Fatima Elkabti and professor Jorge Cuadros discuss a magnified digital image of a healthy retina.

A UC Berkeley graduate student in optometry, one of her professors and a Berkeley alumnus have joined forces to build a long-distance diagnostic project that has the potential to keep a large number of people in crisis-torn Libya from going blind.

The public service project involves training Libyan doctors to take detailed digital photographs inside patients’ eyes, of their retinas, as part of routine health care and put the images online for remote diagnosis of damage caused by diabetes before it’s too late. Too often, diabetes-related retinopathy isn’t caught until it causes symptoms, when treatment can no longer save vision.

The first 11 Libyan doctors underwent training for three days in February in Istanbul, in a seminar organized by the Avicenna Group and taught by Berkeley optometry professor Jorge Cuadros. Turkey was chosen as the training site for security reasons and because it is easily accessible from Libya.

If all goes according to plan, many more doctors will be trained over the next year, both in Libya and out — all because of a project that developed rapidly from a seed planted in a Diabetic Health Clinic class in Berkeley’s School of Optometry.

In the class, Cuadros taught students how to analyze photos of diabetic retinopathy as part of EyePACS, the California-based online initiative he co-founded to train people working in diabetes care to screen patients’ vision for remote diagnosis by certified eye doctors.

In his class was third-year optometry student Fatima Elkabti, who knows firsthand the toll that diabetes is taking in Libya, where the disease is rampant but greatly underdiagnosed. Elkabti’s father, a Libyan, has diabetes, as do about half of her many aunts and uncles.

“I walked out of the class and asked Dr. Cuadros, ‘Can we do this in Libya?’ “ Elkabti relates. Do some research, the professor told her.

Elkabti got to work and within an hour found Ethan Chorin, who earned his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 2000, served in the U.S. diplomatic corps in Libya from 2004 to 2006 and has published a book about the recent Libyan revolution. He founded the not-for-profit Avicenna Group in 2011 with a Libyan-American colleague to catalyze health-related partnerships between Libyan organizations and U.S. universities. Traveling back and forth between Benghazi and Berkeley, he looked for ways to involve Berkeley in Libya’s reconstruction efforts.

“I shot Ethan an email, and within hours we were talking about how to make this happen,” Elkabti says. The Berkeley-Libya retinopathy project was off and running.

Diabetes-related retinopathy is one of the leading causes of blindness in Libya — as well as in the United States and in much of the world. EyePACS has brought retinal screenings to poor and medically underserved areas from California’s Central Valley to Peru, and the Libyan retinopathy project extends the concept to politically unstable and dangerous regions.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

UC Davis welcomes students to clinical training


Nursing school hosts White Coat Ceremony for physician assistant, nurse practitioner students.

Nurse practitioner and physician assistant faculty Shelly Henderson (left) and Debra Bakerjian (right) help physician assistant student Elizabeth Bradbury (middle) put on her new coat as part of the White Coat Ceremony at UC Davis nursing school.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis conducted a White Coat Ceremony on Monday to celebrate the formal transition from classroom education to clinical preparation for physician assistant and nurse practitioner Class of 2015 students.

More than 100 family and friends filled the Robert T. Matsui Lecture Hall at UC Davis Health System’s Education Building to cheer on the six nurse practitioner and 21 physician assistant students as they were presented their first white coats.

Similar to the white coat tradition at many medical programs, the ceremony signifies the completion of the academic year of study and the move to clinical education, where students complete rotations in primary care, inpatient medicine, rural medicine, pediatrics, surgery and other areas. During this time, students experience their first patient interactions.

“In keeping with the concept that medicine, and health care in general, are team sports, this tradition has expanded to a variety of other health professions such as pharmacy, optometry, therapy, veterinary, physician assistant and advanced practice nursing, and is now celebrated internationally,” said Debra Bakerjian, senior director for the nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs.

The event included comments and advice from two program alumni — Karimeh Borghei, a 2006 nurse practitioner graduate and Jeremy Weis, a 2012 graduate of the physician assistant program — as well as a current physician assistant student, Kim Ward, and other faculty.

The UC Davis physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs are the only ones in the nation where the two professions learn together in the classroom. Additionally, the UC Davis programs focus on developing providers to deliver care in areas where it’s needed most, thus expanding access for a growing population. The UC Davis School of Medicine’s Department of Community and Family Medicine first offered a nurse practitioner graduate certificate program in 1970. The physician assistant program was added in 1982.

In 2013, the program was reconfigured into master’s degree programs at the UC Davis nursing school. Over the past 40 years, UC Davis has graduated more than 1,800 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 67 percent of graduates working in underserved areas. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of graduates work in primary care, compared to significantly lower national averages of between 30 and 40 percent.

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Medical students celebrate their matches


Graduating students learn where their careers as doctors will start.

UC Davis medical student Alexis Gaskin matched to Howard University.

Jumps for joy. Hugs for happiness.

March 21 was a day to celebrate for more than 650 University of California medical students: Match Day 2014, when future doctors found out which hospital accepted them for residency to get advanced training in their chosen specialty.

“This day is like all my dreams come true,” said Alexis Gaskin, a fourth-year UC Davis medical student from Vacaville, who matched in orthopedics at Howard University in Washington, D.C.  “Being able to visualize it [the match letter], to see it in my hand is really a dream come true.”

UC Irvine medical student Givenchy Manzano is embraced by his mother, Mary Jane Manzano, as his brother Wilfred looks on.

At UC Davis, 96 graduating medical students matched. At UC Irvine, 100 students matched. At UCLA, 183 students matched. UC San Diego had 116 students match. UC San Francisco had 157 students match.

This year, more than 16,000 U.S. allopathic medical school seniors matched to first-year residency positions – a match rate of 94.4 percent. A computer algorithm from the National Resident Matching Program matches the preferences of applicants with the preferences of residency programs at teaching hospitals throughout the country. The students from allopathic schools such as UC apply for the available residency positions along with thousands of independent applicants, including osteopathic students and graduates of foreign medical schools. Overall, more than 40,000 individuals applied for nearly 30,000 residency slots across the country.

UCLA's Sarah Neyssani will do her residency at Harbor-UCLA Med Center.

While UC students matched with residency programs across the country, around two-thirds will stay in California for their training, including at UC medical centers, helping to address local needs for physicians. More than 69 percent of the physicians who do residency training in California remain in the state to practice – the nation’s highest retention rate.

“I could not be happier with where I matched, and am so excited to go on this adventure with these amazing people,” said UC San Francisco graduating medical student Gabe Sudario, who will continue at UC San Francisco for his residency.

UC San Diego medical students pinpoint their matches

“We are all nervous about Match Day,” said Inga Wilder, a senior at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “It’s the uncertainty. You can’t plan anything. But I am graduating. I am going to be a doctor in a couple months. I can’t complain.”

Wilder, 30, has reason to be proud. She grew up in Compton, and she and her brother, who joined her at Match Day, were the first in their family to graduate from college. Wilder, a high school valedictorian, went to UC Berkeley and originally planned to get a Ph.D. in microbiology before experience in a lab convinced her she was “more of a people person.”

To break up the tension of the day, many of UCSF's medical students dressed up in costumes, including Gabe Sudario (center in green) who landed a residency at UCSF.

Standing beside her brother, she opened her envelope and smiled: “I got my first choice,” she beamed, a residency in full-spectrum family medicine at the Ventura County Medical Center, helping underserved communities.

For more coverage of Match Day, view these links:

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off

Bill proposes new pathway for more physicians


UC co-sponsors bill introduced by Bonilla.

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla’s office issued the following press release today (March 11):

Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla, in partnership with the University of California and the Medical Board of California, has introduced legislation to allow graduates of accelerated and fully accredited medical education programs to become licensed physicians in California. By creating this pathway, students will have the opportunity to incur less student debt while becoming dedicated, well-trained physicians.

“We have a growing shortage of trained medical residents and physicians to meet the demands of our communities,” said Assemblywoman Bonilla. “In addition, the accumulation of student debt is overwhelming to many students seeking to become physicians. By creating this new pathway, we can begin to reduce the growing shortage and provide the opportunity for students to graduate with less student debt.”

Medical schools in New York and Texas have developed accelerated programs that produce graduates in three years by focusing more on the medical students’ skills and academic achievement, rather than on the time spent in medical school itself. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, there is no evidence that four years of medical school enhances clinical skills or the quality of patient care. In addition, for many students, the fourth year of medical school is focused almost entirely on electives and applying for residency. Furthermore, the Washington Post cites that students that have graduated from shortened medical programs perform just as highly on board examinations and placements in residency programs.

“The Medical Board of California is pleased to co-sponsor AB 1838 with the University of California Office of the President. The Medical Board’s mission includes the promotion of access to quality medical care through the Medical Board’s licensing and regulatory functions,” said Medical Board of California’s executive director, Kimberly Kirchmeyer. “We believe that this legislation will meet the needs of the applicants who are enrolling in these programs and will still fulfill the Medical Board’s mission of consumer protection and access to care.”

The University of California operates six of California’s nine M.D.-granting medical schools and provides specialty training for nearly half of the state’s medical residents. “As a major provider of medical education in the state, the University of California believes this change in law is straightforward and will benefit the state by reducing unnecessary and out-dated barriers to practice in the state,” said Dr. Cathryn Nation, UC associate vice president for health sciences. “AB 1838 will benefit not only the future graduates of UC Davis’ new, accelerated M.D. degree program (which plans to enroll its first class of four students in summer 2014), but, also all graduates of any accelerated program offered by an LCME-accredited medical school.”

Assemblywoman Bonilla’s legislation, AB 1838, will allow graduates of accelerated medical education programs accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Committee on Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools to have a path to licensure in California. The bill is co-sponsored by the Medical Board of California and the University of California.

Media contact:
Ryan Morimune
Assemblywoman Susan A. Bonilla
(916) 319-2014

View original release

CATEGORY: Issues, NewsComments Off

Good Bruin Samaritans


UCLA students bring much-needed medical aid to Mexican community.

In a community less than 150 miles south of UCLA, Enrique Juarez Gonzalez, his wife, Mercedes, and their children live without running water or electricity. Their sanitation system is sub-standard, and access to health care was almost nonexistent.

There are many families just like them in Tijuana’s Colonia Margarita Moran, families that are struggling to survive in an area where poverty is rampant and opportunities are slim.

Thanks to life-changing efforts by UCLA undergraduates, a small community medical clinic is the family’s only source of medical care. It was there late last year that they received an invaluable gift that lifted a huge weight off the family’s shoulders — a wheelchair for their 14-year-old son, who had to be carried everywhere because he has cerebral palsy.

“Watching Mercedes wheel Emmanuel out of the clinic with such relief, and realizing the impact the chair will have on their family, illustrates the reason we operate our clinic,” said UCLA senior Becky Barber, who along with fellow neuroscience student Lyolya Hovhannisyan founded the UCLA chapter of Flying Samaritans in 2013. The nationwide group brings together volunteers and health care providers to deliver basic medical services, including clinical evaluations, medication and health education classes.

“On a micro-level, knowing we can improve the quality of life for people in this community makes our work here worthwhile,” said Barber. She and Hovhannisyan, both seniors and aspiring doctors, received a $10,000 scholarship from the Donald A. Strauss Foundation in 2013 to support their efforts.

Volunteer student and patient Enrique Juarez Gonzalez

Barber learned about the need in Colonia Margarita Moran after hearing about the work of Dr. Maria Sarabia, a Mexican-trained doctor and Huntington Park resident who, for roughly three years, had been providing religious education and the best medical service in the Tijuana colonia. After speaking with Hovhannisyan about Dr. Sarabia’s efforts and considering what they could do to help, they founded UCLA Flying Samaritans and its small medical clinic in Colonia Margarita Moran.

In May 2013, the group began the first of nearly a dozen visits to the clinic and saw 26 patients. Now they see more than double that number each month, with the group’s outreach efforts making more residents aware of the clinic’s services. The clinic opens the third Saturday of the month with volunteer doctors and often more than a dozen UCLA students.

Most of the ailments the volunteer doctors see are preventable, said Hovhannisyan. They include hypertension, diabetes, sexually transmitted infections and waterborne illnesses, all of which can be sharply reduced through education and outreach programming, she said.

Other factors, including little to no access to fresh fruits and vegetables, clean water or warm dry places to live, make health prevention efforts more challenging. Barber said that ongoing community assessments and speaking with locals will help them better serve the people living there.

“This is a big part of our current efforts to identify the resources available to the community and give us a better understanding of the factors that are leading to a decreased quality of life,” said Hovhannisyan. “Our clinic will target the issues we find to be most clearly decreasing quality of life and implement projects to directly address these problems.”

Read more

For more health news, visit UC Health, subscribe by email or follow us on Flipboard.

CATEGORY: SpotlightComments Off

Medical students help ‘connect’ uninsured to health care


Students making a difference in the community.

UCLA medical student Caleb Wilson (standing) talks to student volunteers Lisa Nicholson of UCLA (from the left) and Emma de Montelongo of USC while Natalie Mendez, a client, looks on.

Taking blood pressure readings at health fairs was not exactly Caleb Wilson’s idea of connecting with patients. A second-year medical student at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine, he wanted to do more. “What can medical students do to make a real difference?” he asked.

His response to that question is making a big difference to the Southern California community that he and other UCLA medical students are currently serving.

Wilson, 24, along with first-year medical students Jeff Fujimoto and Brandon Scott, both 25, started a UCLA student outreach and education group last fall, based on a partnership between UCLA student chapters of the American Medical Association and the Student National Medical Association. All three are leaders of these chapters. The goal of the group, Connecting Californians to Care, is to “connect” the state’s uninsured — an estimated 7 million people — to health insurance. The group also has chapters at USC and UC San Diego.

So instead of spending a recent Saturday salsa dancing or playing football – his usual ways of decompressing from the rigors of medical school —  or tutoring fellow students, Wilson was at a community outreach center off Hollywood Boulevard helping the uninsured enroll in health care.

Although heavy rain kept turnout low, Wilson and the other volunteers were upbeat. “It’s a contagious excitement,” Wilson said.

“Medicine has a very human aspect to it,” said Fujimoto in an email. “Reaching out to people and connecting help us become more well-rounded people and physicians as well.”

During the community outreach event, students determined if an individual qualifies for Medi-Cal or Covered California; explained the ins and outs of tax credits, coverage tiers and insurers; then sat down with the person while they enrolled online.

Natalie Mendoza, 25, hasn’t had health insurance for seven years. “I’m lucky I haven’t had any problems,” she said. After studying the enrollment website with student volunteers, she said she would probably go for a bronze or silver plan. “I feel good knowing the options.”

Wilson, Fujimoto and Scott developed the training curriculum for the volunteers with their group adviser, Dylan H. Roby, director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and an assistant professor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

The three students, along with 20 others in the group, are also training to become state-certified enrollment counselors in conjunction with the Saban Community Clinic.

Read more

Related link:
Why UC is participating in Covered California

CATEGORY: NewsComments Off