Local Students Get a Head Start with Med-Start

Local Students in UA College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Med-Start Program.  High school juniors get an early taste of college, health professions

 UA_COM_PHXPHOENIX – Twenty-four high school students from the greater Phoenix area and the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community will spend five weeks this summer learning first-hand what it takes to be a health-care professional thanks to the 10th annual Med-Start, an innovative summer program at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, organized by the Office of Admissions and Recruitment.


Med-Start is an intensive academic program for Arizona students entering their senior year of high school who are interested in careers in the health professions. The program encourages students who are of underrepresented or diverse backgrounds, living in rural areas or are economically or educationally disadvantaged to pursue health-care careers by helping them prepare for college life, introducing them to health career opportunities and informing them about educational pathways.


The program is partially funded by grants from Phoenix Suns Charities and Casino Arizona.


The students will visit the three state universities, a private university, various health-care organizations in the area, perform dissections, visit a simulation lab weekly, and learn the ins and outs of applying for college during the program that begins June 3.


Several thousand students have participated in Med-Start since 1969 when it was developed on the UA College of Medicine’s Tucson campus to improve health care in rural and economically disadvantaged areas and to increase the number of underrepresented health-care professionals in Arizona. In 2004, Med-Start grew to include a second program in Phoenix.


Through July 6, Med-Start participants will explore health professions, engage in hands-on presentations and will have the opportunity to earn six university credit hours by taking college-level coursework in the fundamentals of health care and English.


An additional group of 28 high school students will attend the Med-Start residential program on the UA campus in Tucson.


Med-Start began as an initiative under UA College of Medicine Founding Dean Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal, MD. The late Dr. DuVal probably is best remembered for his role in shaping the fledgling College, providing support for numerous programs and initiatives that have contributed to recognition of the College as one of the top medical schools in the West. Generous gifts from family and friends established The Merlin K. “Monte” DuVal Memorial Med-Start Endowment, which pays tribute to the founding dean while supporting this vital program.


In 1969, just after the College opened its doors to its first class of medical students, Dr. DuVal helped establish the Med-Start program, lending his support to a group of idealistic and innovative minority medical students who championed the cause. These students included three who later completed their medical degrees at the UA.


In addition to the 24 students participating in Med-Start, three counselors will assist during the summer program, two of which are incoming students to the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix, Siddharth Pandya and Megan Fah. The third counselor is Yessenia Magana, a junior at UA.

The 2013 Med-Start participants and their high schools and the school’s location:


Skieff Acothley, Deer Valley High School, Glendale

Makayla Andre, Westwood High School, Mesa

Paulina Avila, Independence High School, Glendale

Francisco Brito, Sandra Day O’Connor High School, Phoenix

Christian Buzzelle, Westwood High School, Mesa

Jahnessa Crawford, McClintock High School, Tempe

Marla Davis, Veritas Preparatory Academy, Phoenix

Jennifer Madrid-Chairez, Westwood High School, Mesa

Ricardo Montejano, Apollo High School, Glendale

Sheania Morgan, Marcos De Niza High School, Tempe

Bailey Musselman, Veritas Preparatory Academy, Phoenix

Jacqueline Ochoa Arroyo, Bioscience High School, Phoenix

JulieAnna Olague, Agua Fria High School, Avondale

Angela Ponce Olea, Central High School, Phoenix

Evalese Ramirez, Skyline High School, Mesa

Stephanie Rendon, Bourgade Catholic High School, Phoenix

Alexander Rios, Desert Ridge High School, Mesa

Juan Sanchez, Westwood High School, Mesa

Melani Smith, Desert Edge High School, Goodyear

Jacob Sosa, Mesa High School, Mesa

Eric Sutherland, Desert Vista High School, Phoenix

Nhi Truong, Independence High School, Glendale

Tiffany Varadi, Paradise Valley High School, Phoenix

Loriann Zambrano, Salt River High School, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community




For more information about Med-Start, visit the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix website at phoenixmed.arizona.edu.

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Posted in AZBio News.