Future Physician Leaders Mentorship Program to Hold Reception and Poster Session Aug. 16

Program established by Dr. Raul Ruiz serves 700 Inland Empire residents this summer

FPL student participants

Community service projects by summer 2012 student participants in the Future Physician Leaders program will be recognized at a Aug. 16 reception at the UCR Palm Desert Center. Photo courtesy of Future Physician Leaders

PALM DESERT, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — The Future Physician Leaders (FPL) mentorship program, a community-based collaborative that is nurturing the next generation of physician leaders, will recognize the work of more than 150 students, physicians and health care leaders at its end-of-summer reception scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 16, at the UCR Palm Desert Center, 75-080 Frank Sinatra Drive.

The event will recognize and celebrate the work and accomplishments of participating FPL students, and one of the biannual networking events designed to mentor students. The evening will begin with a poster board display session where students from the Coachella Valley and Riverside/San Bernardino program will present the result of their FPL Community Health Projects.

Established in 2009 by Dr. Raul Ruiz, a Coachella Valley emergency physician and Senior Associate Dean for Community Engagement and Partnerships in the UC Riverside School of Medicine, FPL is helping address the healthcare access crisis in Inland Southern California by supporting the aspirations of young people to build a career in medicine serving critical community needs.

“With physician to patient ratios in the eastern Coachella Valley four times short of the federal recommendation number, it is programs like the Future Physician Leaders out of the UC Riverside School of Medicine that will alleviate the physician disparity by developing more home-grown, high quality physician leaders who will serve their community with social responsibility,” said Ruiz.

Founded in the Coachella Valley four years ago with nine students, the program has now expanded to include a Riverside/San Bernardino site with the support of the UC Riverside School of Medicine, and includes over 120 active high school and undergraduate pre-med students, 70 physician mentors and nine healthcare institution partners. The program consists of a leadership lecture series, community service through community health projects, and a summer physician shadowing rotation.

The community service and leadership component is the heart and soul of the FPL program, Ruiz said. This summer, FPL students spent six weeks working in teams to develop, implement and evaluate their own community health projects. The students’ goal was to increase the number of health education information, prevention services, and wellness resources available to residents. Thirteen projects were developed between the Coachella Valley and Riverside/San Bernardino areas reaching more than 700 community members in the Inland Empire. Community health project topics ranged from sun safety and skin cancer awareness at a local public aquatic center to health screening, education, and resource guidance for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity in public parks.

Among the program partnering organizations invited to the reception and poster session are Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Borrego Community Health Foundation, Clinicas De Salud Del Pueblo, CVEP’s Pathways to Success, Desert AIDS Project, Desert Healthcare District, Desert Regional Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, Health Career Connections, Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Planned Parenthood, UCR Health, UCR School of Medicine, and Volunteers in Medicine.

Media Contact


Tel: (951) 827-4598
E-mail: kathy.barton@ucr.edu

Additional Contacts

Nastassia Valenzuela, Future Physician Leaders
Tel: (760) 834-0881
E-mail: nastassia.valenzuela@ucr.edu

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