MINORITY ACCESS: UCSB Group Urges Youth to Pursue Medical Careers
Working to "mend disparities within the medical profession," a group at the University of California-Santa Barbara holds motivational programs to encourage minority college and high school students to pursue medical careers. Rosemary Flamenco, co-chair of the 25-member Los Curanderos, which means "people who heal," says that wide disparities in access to health care highlight the need for culturally sensitive physicians. Pointing to a recent survey conducted by the Statewide Health and Planning Development Office, Flamenco noted that the largely ethnic South Central Los Angeles area has one doctor for every 13,000 residents. By contrast, she said, in Beverly Hills there is one doctor per 214 residents. Those statistics "convinced her of the need to spread the word," the Santa Barbara News Press reports. Since its inception in the early 1970s, Los Curanderos has functioned as an information resource for college students, encouraging even younger students to pursue medical careers by visiting high schools or by inviting them to informational programs at UCSB. Last Saturday, for example, busloads of Southern California high school students poured into UCSB to "learn about going to college and perhaps becoming doctors after they receive their undergraduate education." Doctors who practice in various specialties held a panel discussion at the annual conference, telling students about their responsibilities and fielding questions. "It's a very, very valuable group to have on campus for the students," said Adolfo Murillo, an optometrist and UCSB alumnus who was also a member of Los Curanderos. "As members of a minority community, we should have that responsibility to give something back to the community," he said (Etling, 5/4).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.