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UC medical school graduates take on Central Valley’s health care crisis

Vanessa Mora Molina

Newly minted doctor Vanessa Mora Molina will pursue a residency in general surgery at UCLA, with the ultimate goal of returning home to California’s Central Valley, where physicians are in short supply.

Vanessa Mora Molina grew up in Fowler, a small farming town in California’s San Joaquin Valley, where she often had to wait weeks for an appointment for simple medical care. This June, she will be one of more than 700 medical students earning their M.D. from one of UC’s six medical schools.  The vast majority of these newly minted doctors, 73%, will stay in California for their residency training.

Like Mora, many of these doctors have received specialized classwork and training through the UC PRIME program, which prepares them to provide care to medically underserved people across the state. UC PRIME seeks to eliminate “health care deserts,” where doctors often don’t speak their patients’ languages, or know enough about how the community’s culture and norms contribute to their patients’ health and well-being.

“We don’t just need more doctors in this community. We need doctors who understand it,” said Dr. Katherine Flores, a family medicine physician who supervised Mora at a clinic in Fresno. “We need students who come from the Valley, who understand the culture of the Valley, who understand the challenges of poverty and the challenges of the community.”

Read the whole story from the UC Newsroom

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