Eight Native American high school students from across Arizona are spending the summer exploring health-care career opportunities that could change the direction of their lives, thanks to Med-Start, a program offered in Tucson and Phoenix by the University of Arizona College of Medicine's Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs.
Med-Start is an academic summer program for Arizona high school students who will enter their senior year in the fall and who are interested in careers in the health professions.
One Native American student is participating in the five-week Med-Start Phoenix, a weekday program held on the UA College of Medicine-Phoenix campus through July 7.
Seven Native American students are participating in Med-Start Tucson, a six-week residential program on the UA College of Medicine-Tucson campus where participants live in a UA residence hall through July 14.
Med-Start encourages participants to pursue health-care careers by providing hands-on experiences in a variety of health professions while taking college-level coursework in chemistry, composition and study skills. Participants also learn about college life and the educational pathways to achieving their goals.
"The Med-Start program is an intensive experience in which the students acquire basic medical knowledge while learning about health-care careers," said Dr. Ana Maria López, UA College of Medicine associate dean for outreach and multicultural affairs. "In addition, they're introduced to college life, which is vital to students entering health professions."
Med-Start participants include students who are the first in their family to attend college or to pursue a career in the health professions, who are from ethnic groups that are underrepresented in the health professions, who live in medically underserved rural or urban communities or who are economically or educationally disadvantaged.
Med-Start is supported by The Merlin K. "Monte" DuVal Memorial Med-Start Endowment and the Arizona Area Health Education Centers, including the South East Arizona Area Health Education Center, the Regional Center for Border Health/Western Arizona Area Health Education Center, the Northern Arizona Area Health Education Center and the Eastern Arizona Area Health Education Center.
Med-Start Tucson is supported by the UA College of Medicine's Arizona Hispanic Center of Excellence, Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs and Arizona Health Opportunities Pathways to Excellence program, the Arizona Latin-American Medical Association and the Community Advisory Board of the Office of Outreach and Multicultural Affairs.
Part of the Med-Start Phoenix program funding also comes from grants from the Phoenix Suns Charities, Casino Arizona and the Greater Valley Area Health Education Center.
Native American students participating in Med-Start Tucson include:
- Kayenta resident Miranda Rae Growler, Navajo, a student at Monument Valley High School.
- Mesa resident Raven Ashleigh Sanchez, White Mountain Apache, a student at Mesa High School.
- Page resident Kyra Shandiin Yazzie, Navajo, a student at Page High School.
- Pinon resident Tiya April Silver, Navajo, a student at Shonto Preparatory Technology High School, Shonto.
- Sells resident Nadia Louise Jose, Tohono O'Odham, a student at Baboquivari High School.
- Tuba City resident Christopher Damon Honahnie, Hopi, a student at Tuba City High School.
- Yuma resident Anthony Jon Williams, Swinomish Tribe (Washington), a student at Kofa High School.
Native American students participating in Med-Start Phoenix include:
- Ft. Defiance resident Rvonda Yazzie, Navajo (Window Rock High School).