Second Class of Medical Students with San Joaquin Valley focus to begin clinical training at UCSF Fresno


The medical students who represent the second class of the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME) will begin their clinical training this week in a program designed to bring more highly-trained physicians to serve diverse communities in the San Joaquin Valley.


Photo opportunities will be available of students training in the clinical skills simulation lab. Third- and fourth-year PRIME students and faculty also will be available for interviews.


Friday, April 25
1 – 1:30 p.m. Interviews
1:30 – 2 p.m. Photo/video opportunities


UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education and Research 155 N. Fresno St., Fresno


In September 2010, UC Merced announced a partnership with the UC Davis School of Medicine and UC San Francisco’s clinical campus in Fresno (UCSF Fresno) to establish a medical education program for students interested in practicing in the San Joaquin Valley. The inaugural group of students began their classes at UC Davis School of Medicine in August 2011 as part of the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education (PRIME). The second class of students was admitted to the program in August 2012.

The initial class of UC Merced PRIME students completed the first two years of medical school at UC Davis’ Sacramento campus and the first year of clinical training at UCSF Fresno. They will start their fourth year of medical school (second year of clinical training) at UCSF Fresno this month.

The second UC Merced PRIME class will arrive this week to take part in orientation at UCSF Fresno prior to starting their first year of clinical training in the San Joaquin Valley. The orientation includes: meetings with program directors, learning how to use electronic medical records software, tours of clinical sites, team building exercises, lectures and clinical training in the simulation lab.

The second cohort of students includes:

  • Fabian Alberto, of Soledad, who graduated from UCLA
  • Fakhra Khalid, of Porterville, who graduated from UC Berkeley
  • Kristine Ongaigui, of Fresno, who graduated from Stanford
  • Maricela Rangel-Garcia, of Selma, who graduated from UC Merced
  • Katy Ruch, of Fresno, who graduated from Fresno Pacific University

Six students were admitted to PRIME in 2013. The admissions process is taking place now for the 2014-2015 academic year. All of the students will be graduates of the UC Davis School of Medicine.

To be considered for admission, applicants must meet the UC Davis School of Medicine admissions requirements. Applicants also must possess significant knowledge of the San Joaquin Valley, including a familiarity with underserved populations, public health issues pertinent to the region and a desire to practice medicine in the San Joaquin Valley.

The dire need for physicians in the San Joaquin Valley is well documented and will only intensify given the high rate of population growth in the region. The Council on Graduate Medical Education (COGME), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, recommends 60 to 80 primary care physicians and 85 to 105 specialists per 100,000 people. In 2008, the San Joaquin Valley had just 45 active primary care physicians and 74 specialists per 100,000 people, according to the COGME’s workforce assessments.

UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME is the sixth and latest addition to the University of California’s multi-campus PRIME initiative since UC launched the programs in 2004 to address physician-workforce shortages statewide. UC medical schools at Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco also have Programs in Medical Education, each of which provides innovative medical education that focuses on meeting the healthcare needs of California’s medically underserved populations.

UCSF is the nation’s leading university exclusively focused on health and is dedicated to transforming health worldwide through advanced biomedical research, graduate-level education in the life sciences and health professions, and excellence in patient care.

UCSF Fresno, established in 1975, plays a vital role in providing healthcare services to residents of the San Joaquin Valley, training medical professionals in the region, conducting research that addresses regional health issues and academically preparing a pipeline of students for careers in health and medicine.