UCSF Fresno Doctors Academy Students Take Part in Internships and Research This Summer

WHO: About 80 high school seniors from the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research Doctors Academy (DA) Program are participating in the 2019 Doctors Academy Senior Summer Clinical Internship and Research Program.  A total of 77 health professionals from 20 health institutions, including Adventist Health, Clinica Sierra Vista, Community Regional Medical Center, Family HealthCare Network, Kaiser Permanente Fresno, Omni Health, Saint Agnes Medical Center, UCSF Fresno, Valley Children’s Healthcare, and other local private clinical sites, are mentoring students this summer. Numerous institutions opened their doors and health professionals volunteered their time to mentor a student for the duration of the six-week program.  

WHAT: Under the direction of Katherine A. Flores, MD, director of the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, the DA offers its rising seniors a six-week summer clinical and research program. The DA seniors are placed with a health professional in a clinical setting a minimum of 15 hours per week and learn first-hand, the day-to-day role and responsibilities of providing health care within the community. It is a culmination of their four-year participation in the program and will be an asset for them as they apply to four-year universities this fall.

In addition to the clinical internships, twice a week, DA seniors attend a research course taught by a lead research instructor and staff at their respective school sites.  The course is taught and facilitated by qualified UCSF Fresno staff and undergraduate college students, many of them are DA alumni. At their school sites, the DA seniors will complete a secondary research project related to their clinical area of interest with a focus on a health disparity impacting diverse communities. This experience offers DA seniors the opportunity to gain more knowledge and an understanding of our community health care needs and inspire them to return to the Central Valley to provide care.   


The Senior Summer Clinical Internship and Research Program takes place now through July 19.

The program will conclude with a research symposium on Thursday, July 18, from 6 to 7:30 p.m.  

DA seniors will showcase their research projects and clinical mentors and participating sites will be recognized for their participation in the program. Invited guests include students, parents and families, community members, clinical mentors, clinical site representatives, community supporters, and partnering school site administrators and staff.

WHERE: UCSF Fresno, 155 N. Fresno St., Fresno, Auditorium

Questions regarding this program, please contact, Katherine A. Flores, MD, director of the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research or Associate Director Emy L. Phillips, EdD, at (559) 241-7670 or [email protected] or [email protected]


California is facing a shortfall of more than 4,000 primary care clinicians, according to a report released earlier this year by the California Future Health Workforce Commission. The projected shortfall of primary care clinicians in the state will have a disproportionate impact on the San Joaquin Valley where a doctor shortage already exists. The Commission recommended a set of priorities for the state to address the looming health care workforce shortage. Pipeline programs, like the UCSF Fresno Doctors Academy that recruit and prepare students from underrepresented and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds for careers in health care, were among the top priorities.

The UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research (LaCMER), in partnership with Fresno Unified School District (FUSD) and the Fresno County Office of Education, started the Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy in 1999 to encourage educationally disadvantaged students to focus on careers in health and medicine. The Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy currently has 147 students enrolled. A Fresno Unified School District Junior Doctors Academy Program was established in 2000 to encourage and support students earlier in their academic career as middle school students. The Junior Doctors Academy currently serves Kings Canyon, Sequoia and Terronez middle schools with a total of 179 enrolled.

The Doctors Academy has grown in popularity and scope in the past 17 years. In 2007, Doctors Academy programs were established at Caruthers and Selma high schools. A total of 104 students are enrolled at Caruthers High School and 100 are enrolled at Selma High School. In 2014, the Junior Doctors Academy was extended to Caruthers Elementary School where there are currently 51 students enrolled (29 eighth-grade students and 22 seventh-grade students). The first JDA cohort from Caruthers Elementary will graduate from Caruthers High School Doctors Academy in 2019. UCSF Fresno LaCMER continues to support and work closely with Caruthers, Selma and Fresno unified school districts to sustain these programs and provide academic preparation for careers in health and medicine for qualifying students.