American students participate in Med-Start in Tucson through July
people remember the summer of 1969 as the time when man first walked
on the moon and Woodstock happened. But a group of high school students
from rural areas of Arizona, the reservations, South Tucson and
South Phoenix remember it as the first time a world of opportunity
in health care was opened up for them, changing the direction of
years ago -- just two years after The University of Arizona College
of Medicine in Tucson opened its doors to its first class of medical
students -- the College opened its doors to a group of about 20
high school students who came to the campus to attend the first
Med-Start summer program and learn firsthand what it takes to be
a health-care professional.
Med-Start program is an intensive experience in which the students
acquire basic medical knowledge while learning about health-care
careers," says Linda K. Don, assistant dean with the UA College
of Medicine's Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs,
which administers the program. "In addition, they're introduced
to college life, which is vital to students entering health professions."
real magic of Med-Start is revealed in the personal stories of career
success," she notes. "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."
As examples, she cites:
Mariana Amaya, MD, a 1992 participant who graduated from the UA
College of Medicine in 2001 and practices obstetrics and gynecology
in Phoenix. Dr. Amaya also participated in the UA Minority Medical
Education Program (MMEP) in 1994.
Ernestine Bustamante, MD, a 1988 participant who graduated from
the UA College of Medicine in 1997 and practices obstetrics and
gynecology in Phoenix.
Carlos R. Gonzales, MD, a 1970 participant who graduated from
the UA College of Medicine in 1981 and is an associate professor
with the UA College of Medicine Department of Family and Community
Medicine. An award-winning family practice physician, he is a
leader in addressing the challenges of border health issues.
Evelinda Gonzales, a 2002 participant and daughter of Dr. Carlos
Gonzales (see above) who is a member of the UA College of Medicine
class of 2011.
Oñate, MD, a 1978 participant who graduated from the UA
College of Medicine in 1989, is a psychiatrist in Tucson who also
is medical director of the Southern Arizona Mental Health Corp.
Rangel, MD, a 1990 participant who graduated from the UA College
of Medicine in 2002 and is a pediatrician in Phoenix.
Dr. Gonzales, one of the original Med-Start students, recalls that
as a student at Pueblo High School, I had an inclination to
dream about going into medicine, but it was just a major dream.
motivated me," he added, explaining that he became the first
in his family to go on to college. "Without Med-Start, it wouldn't
have happened. I would have worked in the mines or gone into construction."
program was developed to improve health care in rural and economically
disadvantaged areas and to increase the number of minority health-care
professionals in Arizona. UA College of Medicine Founding Dean Merlin
K. "Monte" DuVal, MD, who helped shape the College, from
choosing its site and designing the original facility to recruiting
faculty and raising funds, lent his support in 1968 to a group of
idealistic and innovative minority medical students who championed
the Med-Start cause. Those students included Marcos Duarte, Ruth
Smothers and Yuel Tom, all of whom later completed their medical
degrees at the UA. After Dr. DuVal's death in 2006, 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 addition to the summer program, Med-Start promotes youth exploration
of health careers year-round -- through tours of the Arizona Health
Sciences Center, high school career days, student health events
and other activities.
thousand students have participated in Med-Start since it was launched
in 1969. In 2004, Med-Start grew to include a second program in
Phoenix (then called Maricopa Med-Start or M2, now Med-Start PHOENIX),
which initially accepted only Maricopa-area high school students.
Med-Start is held on The University of Arizona campus in Tucson
and at The University of Arizona College of Medicine - Phoenix in
partnership with Arizona State University in Phoenix.
five-week academic summer program is for Arizona students who will
be entering their senior year of high school and who are interested
in careers in the health professions, are of underrepresented or
diverse backgrounds, are living in rural areas or are economically
disadvantaged. The program encourages them to pursue health-care
careers by helping them prepare for college life, introducing them
to health-career opportunities and informing them about educational
participants explore a variety of health professions, engage in
hands-on presentations, and take college-level coursework in chemistry,
composition and study skills. Med-Start TUCSON participants live
on campus in a UA residence hall; this year, Med-Start PHOENIX is
a day-only program.
This summer, 61 high school students from across the state are participating
in Med-Start: 39 in Med-Start TUCSON and 22 in Med-Start PHOENIX.
Both programs are being held through July 11.
Native American Med-Start TUCSON participants include:
Victoria Cannon, Pascua Yaqui, of Tucson, a student at Cholla
Magnet High School.
Jonathan Credo, Navajo, of Flagstaff, a student at Coconino High
Sky Fimbres, Pascua Yaqui, of Tucson, a student at Rincon High
Chanse Foster, Navajo, of Tuba City, a student at Tuba City High
Samantha Nez, Navajo, of Mesa, a student at East Valley Academy.
Natasha Yazzie, Navajo, of Mesa, a student at East Valley Academy.
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 email@example.com
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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