The University of California, Irvine will launch an interdisciplinary pre-disability professional development program designed to support students from underserved communities interested in careers in health care.
Funded by a five-year, $3.6 million grant from the California Department of Health Care Access and Information, UC PRIME Pre-Health Pathways (UCPPP) will select undergraduates for training, counseling and support to enhance medical school readiness. .
“This funding will allow us to reach, support and provide foundational training to underrepresented pre-medical students,” said Dr. Belinda Campos, principal investigator, professor and chair of Chicano/Latino studies and faculty in the Latino community medical education program. “At UCI, there is a group of faculty, students and community allies who have been talking for years about what we can do to pave the way for our students who are committed to the goal of becoming physicians who serve the communities that need them most. . When we learned about the opportunity to access health care and information, we knew this was our chance to turn these years of conversations into a promising reality! UCPPP will build the robust undergraduate programming necessary to ensure that the physicians of the future who will serve the needs of Californians better represent their diverse peoples.
Organizers plan to launch the program in summer 2023.
Other involvement in the program includes Dr. Charles Vega, co-investigator, clinical professor of family medicine and director of PRIME-LC at the School of Medicine; Dr. John Billimek, associate professor and vice chair for academic affairs in the Clinic of Family Medicine and co-director of the PRIME-LC residency; Dr. Candice Taylor Lucas, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics and Co-Director of the Diversity Development Education Leadership Program – African, Black and Caribbean; and Ursula Worsham, chief diversity officer and assistant dean of admissions at the medical school.
“At UCI, we have been building our infrastructure for years to recruit and train medical students from underrepresented backgrounds, and we have special programs that emphasize this mission. These graduates are most likely to pursue careers serving poor and marginalized communities, as 95 percent of our PRIME-LC graduates do,” said Vega. “The UCPPP will expand the pool of talented and motivated students who will continue to work in healthcare where it is most needed.”
UCPPP plans to maintain the program beyond the initial five years and expand it to the entire UC PRIME network.