UC Merced Update

Medical Program Admits Second Group of Students


Chancellor Leland with new medical students

Chancellor Dorothy Leland met with the six new students in the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.


Classes have begun for the second group of students admitted into the San Joaquin Valley Program in Medical Education.

The students, all of whom have ties to the San Joaquin Valley, toured Merced and Fresno medical facilities to gain a deeper understanding of the region's health care needs.

The second UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME cohort includes:

  • Fabian Alberto, raised in Soledad and a UCLA graduate
  • Karina Martinez Juarez, raised in Empire and a UC Davis graduate
  • Filmon Solomon Mehanzel, of Tracy and a UCLA graduate
  • Kristine Camille Leyba Ongaigui, of Fresno and a Stanford graduate
  • Maricela Rangel-Garcia, raised in Fresno and Clovis and a UC Merced graduate
  • Katy Lynn Ruch, of Fresno and a Fresno Pacific University graduate

With just 87 primary care physicians and 43 specialists per 100,000 people, the San Joaquin Valley is disproportionately affected by the state’s physician shortage, according to a 2006 Central Valley Health Policy Institute report. The dire need for physicians in the region will only intensify in the future given the rapid rate of population growth in the Valley.

"Training the next generation of physicians who are committed to serving the San Joaquin Valley is the basis for UC Merced San Joaquin Valley-PRIME," said Chancellor Dorothy Leland. "Thanks to our three-UC campus partnership, Valley students interested in becoming physicians now have a seamless path to realize their goals. The local pathway for obtaining an undergraduate degree, medical degree and residency training increases the likelihood that San Joaquin Valley-PRIME graduates will stay in the region to provide medical care for their family, friends and Valley neighbors."
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