Six students with ties to the Central Valley have been admitted to the second cohort of the University of California, Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.
The medical school program, made possible through collaborations with the UC Davis School of Medicine and the UC San Francisco Fresno Medical Education Program, looks to train doctors able to deal with the Valley’s unique medical needs. With just 87 primary care physicians and 43 specialists per 100,000 people, the San Joaquin Valley is disproportionately affected by the state’s physician shortage.
Students spend two years on the UC Davis campus, with learning activities in the Valley. The third year is comprised of clinical rotations in the Valley, with the fourth year offering some or all clinical electives in the Valley.
The new cohort includes: Fabian Alberto, raised in Soledad and a UCLA graduate; Karina Martinez Juarez, raised in Empire and a UC Davis graduate; Filmon Solomon Mehanzel, of Tracy and a UCLA graduate; Kristine Camille Leyba Ongaigui, of Fresno and a Stanford graduate; Maricela Rangel-Garcia, raised in Fresno and Clovis and a UC Merced graduate; and Katy Lynn Ruch, of Fresno and a Fresno Pacific University graduate.
Added to the five students in the initial cohort, the program now has 11 students. Six more students will be admitted each year for the next three years, after which the program will require ongoing funding. Eventually, UC Merced hopes to establish an independently accredited medical school.