California State University, Fresno is one of four American universities participating in a pilot campaign of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) to attract more diverse physicians who can serve the growing health needs of culturally diverse communities.

The new campaign is a comprehensive online resource for students of color who are interested in medicine. It also is targeted towards parents, teachers and advisers who are critical in guiding students to pursue their dreams in medicine.

The two-year pilot outreach program is being conducted at Fresno State, Rutgers (in New Jersey), the University of Arizona and the University of Pittsburgh. Each has a large percentage of undergraduate biology majors with fewer-than-expected students applying for and attending medical school.

“Increasing diversity in health care is one of the AAMC’s top goals, and AspiringDocs is an important part of the association’s strategy to create a more diverse medical workforce,” said Dr. Terrell, vice president of the Division of Diversity Policy and Programs at AAMC. “In particular, we’ve designed AspiringDocs to encourage more African American, Latino/a and Native American students to consider a career in medicine.”

The AAMC says 25 percent of the U.S. population is African American, Latino/a, and Native American, four times the percentage of those groups practicing medicine and double the percentage of medical school graduates.

The Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State, recently reported the central San Joaquin Valley had 173 physicians per 100,000 residents, compared to the statewide average of 302 physicians per 100,000 people.

“During our region’s shortage, it’s important that we target and prepare more diverse medical students who can become our future doctors and ensure that all patients receive more culturally sensitive care,” said Lilia De LaCerda, director of Fresno State’s Health Careers Opportunity Program. is a free Web site and online community offering information about medical school applications, admission processes, financial aid, advice from medical school experts and other resources.

“The Web site provides extra tools and wonderful information that answer questions about health careers that some students might not otherwise be able to access,” said Dr. Terrell.

The Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP) at Fresno State prepares diverse students from disadvantaged backgrounds to become doctors and other health professionals. HCOP offers such services as academic support, pre-professional enrichment, a mentoring program, workshops, training and pre-health conferences to help prepare students for medical school and other health careers. The program operates under a unique collaboration between the Colleges of Health and Human Services and Science and Mathematics at Fresno State.

For more information, contact Brandie Campbell at: 559.278.7940 or 559.994.3189.

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Health Careers Opportunity Program