CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- California Health Sciences University is welcoming back students to the classroom this week.
This is the college's largest cohort, with over 150 students back in session.
Student Kimberly Ochoa still remembers the moment she decided she wanted to become a doctor.
"My father passed away from an unexpected heart attack and after that I became hyper aware of the health inequities in my community," she says.
Born and raised in the North Valley, Ochoa says she learned early on that the need for doctors was great.
This was why she was determined to attend school here in Fresno.
"Everything about this school - it's almost as if I created my dream school, culinary medicine, medical Spanish and being in the Central Valley," says Ochoa.
Roughly 30% of CHSU's cohort of medical students are from the Valley.
The college says it hopes to inspire these students to stay.
"The need to grow more physicians for the Central Valley just continues to be one of the challenges we all face," says Dean of the College of Osteopathic Medicine, Dr. John Graneto.
It's a goal many students - like Steve Frediani - already have in mind.
"Going around in those other communities really drove home how much I wanted to come back and help my own community. I realized whatever I was doing out there I could bring it back here and apply it here," says Frediani.
Classes started on Monday and students already have a packed schedule.
The program takes roughly four years - after completion students can go on to their board licensing exam and start their residency.
As for Ochoa and Frediani, they say the plan is to come back and serve right here in the Valley.