Twenty-four high school students from across metro Phoenix are spending five weeks this summer learning firsthand what it takes to be a health-care professional, thanks to Med-Start, an innovative summer program offered by the Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs of the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix.
Med-Start is an intensive academic program for Arizona students entering their senior year of high school who are interested in careers in the health professions. The program encourages students who are of underrepresented or diverse backgrounds, living in rural areas or are economically or educationally disadvantaged to pursue health-care careers by helping them prepare for college life, introducing them to health career opportunities and informing them about educational pathways.
Part of the program funding this year came from a Phoenix Suns Charities grant and the Arizona Area Health Education Centers program.
Several thousand students have participated in Med-Start since 1969 when it was developed on the UA College of Medicine Tucson campus to improve health care in rural and economically disadvantaged areas and to increase the number of minority health-care professionals in Arizona. In 2004, Med-Start grew to include a second program in Phoenix.
“The Med-Start program is an intensive experience in which the students acquire basic medical knowledge while learning about health-care careers,” said Patricia Rodriguez, associate director of the Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs at the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix. “In addition, they’re introduced to college life, which is vital to students entering health professions.”
Through July 10, Med-Start participants will explore a variety of health professions, engage in hands-on presentations and take college-level coursework in the fundamentals of health care, English and study skills
An additional group of 39 Arizona high school students attended the first Med-Start Express, a four-day, three-night conference on the UA campus in Tucson June 16-19. Due to budget reductions, this short program was held in lieu of the traditional five-week program offered in Tucson. For more information about Med-Start Express, visit the website http://opa.ahsc.arizona.edu/newsroom/news/2010/thirty-nine-arizona-high-school-students-learn-about-health-careers-and-college.
Med-Start began as an initiative under UA College of Medicine Founding Dean Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal, MD. The late Dr. DuVal probably is best remembered for his role in shaping the fledgling College, providing support for numerous programs and initiatives that have contributed to recognition of the College as one of the top medical schools in the West. Generous gifts from family and friends established The Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal Memorial Med-Start Endowment, which pays tribute to the founding dean while supporting this vital program.
In 1969, just after the College opened its doors to its first class of medical students, Dr. DuVal helped establish the Med-Start program, lending his support to a group of idealistic and innovative minority medical students who championed the cause. These students included three who later completed their medical degrees at the UA.
“The real magic of Med-Start is revealed in the personal stories of career success,” Rodriguez said. “Whether the youth who have benefited from Med-Start became direct-care providers or chose career paths outside of the health professions, many have had a tremendous impact on the lives of others.”
The 2010 Med-Start participants, their hometowns (and high schools) include:
- Jorge Bahena, Mesa (East Valley Academy)
- Lilia Busani, Gilbert (Desert Ridge High School)
- Linda Cifuentes, Tolleson (Tolleson Union High School)
- Carmen Colin, Tolleson (Tolleson Union High School)
- Jose Elias, Phoenix (Cesar Chavez High School)
- Gabrielle Felix, Mesa (East Valley Academy)
- Lena Feng, Glendale (Glendale High School)
- Gayla Flemister, Tempe (Tempe High School)
- Tara Goodman, Gilbert (Gilbert High School)
- Jose Jaramillo, Phoenix (Trevor G. Browne High School)
- Yoo Lee, Glendale (Barry Goldwater High School)
- Rosa Mabior, Phoenix (Alhambra High School)
- Nhu Mac, Mesa (Skyline High School)
- Luis Maldonado, Glendale (Glendale High School)
- Karina Marquez, Phoenix (Trevor G. Browne High School)
- Karla Marquez, Phoenix (Trevor G. Browne High School)
- Kenya Martinez, Tempe (McClintock High School)
- Hon Ng, Glendale (Glendale High School)
- Ann Nguyen, Chandler (Chandler High School)
- Sergio Rogel, Phoenix (Trevor G. Browne High School)
- Cindy Serrano, Phoenix (Trevor G. Browne High School)
- Merly Torres, Phoenix (Washington High School)
- Bryan Torres, Phoenix (Trevor Browne High School)
- Yasmina Valentin, Gilbert (Desert Ridge High School)
For more information about the Dr. Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal Endowment, or to contribute to this important effort, call the UA College of Medicine Development Office, (520) 626-2827, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Med-Start, visit the UA College of Medicine Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs Web site, www.diversity.medicine.arizona.edu