Internship program gives students real look at medical field careers

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Britney Martinez is learning the anatomy of a human heart. She wants to be a pediatrician and having this knowledge will help her in the long run.

The Sunnyside High School senior has dedicated her summer to the UCSF 2019 Doctors Academy Internship and Research Program.

"All the nurses and doctors are really welcoming and they made it easy for me to ask questions and i was really comfortable with them," she said.

Just like Martinez close to 90 high school seniors are participating. For six weeks, students are placed with different medical professionals across the valley based on their interests, this could range from nurses to surgeons. They learn through hands-on experience.

"A health professional may have a student go into rooms and see patients with them," said internship director, Dr. Katherine Flores. "They may have a student go into the operating room to observe surgery."

Flores is the director of the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, the program in charge of the internship. For about 17 years, they have taken groups of young adults from Sunnyside, Selma and Caruthers High Schools, showing them what the medical field is all about.

"It is very critical that kids see what (the medical field) is really like, so they can make a decision based on reality and not what they see on TV," said Flores.

Their time is divided between shadowing a professional and working on a research project based on health disparities. It's hard work for Martinez, but she knows it will be worth it.

"I got to get a feel for it so i won't be surprised when i have to do it later on," she said.

The summer internships come to an end this week. Those taking part are already serious about the medical field and the internship is bringing them one step closer to their careers.
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