UC president encourages would-be doctors to attend UC schools

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- One by one, students told University of California President Janet Napolitano why they wanted to work in medicine. In return, she provided words of encouragement.

Sunnyside High student Fatima Ahumada told Action News, "She kind of reassured and motivated me that I could go to college."

On her visit to Merced on Thursday, Napolitano encouraged community college students to transfer to the University of California system. In Fresno, it was to sell the University of California's medical training programs to this aspiring group of doctors.

"We are all interested in educating the next generation of physicians and just a great group of young people here today to talk about that," said Napolitano.

The hope is if they get through college and medical school, they will stay in the Valley, which suffers a serious shortage of doctors.

"We are training doctors of all types, but we want to really keep an eye on not only what is underserved but what are the particular practice areas that are underserved," Napolitano added.

Along with Napolitano, several practicing physicians and medical students talked to the high school group about the rewards and difficulties of becoming a doctor.

Maricela Rangel Garcia graduated from Buchanan High School and is now a medical student at UC Davis. She said, "It's not cheap, it's a struggle and you have put a lot of time into it, and you have to be disciplined."

Whether or not these students pursue an education and career in medicine, these young doctors programs are getting them through high school. Students who participate have a 100 percent high school graduation rate.

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