UC Davis medical students move to Modesto to provide care, improve health equity

UC Davis medical students move to Modesto to provide care, improve health equity

REACH pathway launches year-long clinical training experience with Kaiser Permanente

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A group of seven students has relocated to Modesto for an entire school year as part of a new initiative to bring better health to a region that is medically underserved, short on doctors and struggling with health disparities.

The students care for patients at hospitals and outpatient clinics under the direction of Kaiser Permanente physicians who are also committed to improving health equity. The Central Valley clinical experience, a new requirement of the REACH pathway, happens during the third year of medical school, a time when most students are serving at hospitals in Sacramento.

The seven students in the REACH pathway are: Maria Zepeda, Najiba Afzal, Diana Lopez (sitting); Gerardo Tellez, Darian Mangu, Benjamin Vincent, Dagoberto Pina (standing)

It makes a big difference to put students back in their community for their clinical training, said Alicia Gonzalez-Flores, a UC Davis Health internal medicine physician who moved to the Central Valley from Mexico as a teenager and now leads the medical school’s pathway initiatives.

This program allows our students to continue making connections and strengthening the community bonds that will motivate them to go back and practice medicine in the San Joaquin Valley, Gonzalez-Flores added.

This academic year marks the first Springfield payday loans online in which a cohort of UC Davis students live and train entirely in the Modesto area.

It makes a big difference to put students back in their community for their clinical training… This program allows our students to continue making connections and strengthening the community bonds that will motivate them to go back and practice medicine in the San Joaquin Valley. – Alicia Gonzalez-Flores, executive director, Community Health Scholars, UC Davis School of Medicine

Training near the neighborhood where he was raised

Benjamin Vincent, a REACH student, likes to peer through the large windows on the fourth floor of Kaiser Permanente Modesto Medical Center to spot the neighborhood where he and his two brothers were raised. The house is just across Highway 99 in Salida, a Stanislaus County community of about 14,000 people and bountiful almond orchards.

It still, at its core, has a small-town feel, Vincent said. If you ever watched Cheers, it’s an everybody-knows-your-name type of place.

Now he’s back living at the home in his old upstairs bedroom, down the hallway from his parents’ bedroom, with his wife Jacqueline who is six months pregnant with their first child.

Vincent can’t wait to return to the area permanently. To be able to come back home and do what I’m passionate about with people in our community, it’s just very, very fulfilling and seems like a calling, he said.

During his first two years of medical school, Vincent attended lectures and laboratory science classes, and lived near the UC Davis Health campus in Sacramento.

Now he spends full days at the Modesto hospital. Under the guidance of a Kaiser Permanente physician preceptor, he cares for patients in a different clinical area every six weeks in a role similar to that of a resident physician.

One of the highlights is bonding with patients, which is easier when the provider is from the area and can relate to anything from local politics to traffic tangles.

Studies show that patients who have positive, trusting relationships with their primary care providers tend to have better health outcomes.

In rural areas, however, many new doctors don’t stick around. Instead they move to larger cities with better salaries to pay down their student loans.

Vincent, who moved to Salida in ily medicine rotation who asked the aspiring doctor, So, where are you going to go after this?

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