The California Health Care Access Information Authority has awarded $40.8 million in grants to 20 organizations, including Fresno State University, that support and encourage students from underrepresented geographies and backgrounds to pursue medical careers. announced that it would award

Fresno State University will receive $2.9 million in awards over five years, issued through the Health Professionals Pathways Program. Other California State Universities awarded include California State University Dominguez Hills ($3.3 million), San Diego State University ($2.5 million) and Cal Tech Humboldt Sponsored Programs Foundation ($498,000).

Lilia Della Cerda, principal investigator on the project and director of the Health Career Opportunities Program at Fresno State University, said:

Health professionals are most likely to practice where they graduated or grew up, so ensuring that more Fresno State University graduates are successfully enrolled in health-care professional programs is an important part of what we call “health care in the Central Valley.” It’s the best strategy for dealing with shortages,” she said.

The Health Professions Pathways Program is one of a large $1.4 billion Workforce for a Healthy California for All initiative. This initiative aims to address labor shortages in health and human services.

In a tweet Tuesday, Congressman Dr. Joaquin Arambra wrote:

Fresno State University’s Medical Professional Pathway Program is incorporated into the campus’s Medical Career Opportunity Program for underrepresented and/or disadvantaged San Joaquin Valley high school and college-level students who aspire to give back to their communities as primary care physicians. Help students. Dentists, Pharmacists, Physician Assistants, Optometrists, Chiropractors, Clinical Laboratory Technicians, Clinical Psychologists/Behavioral Health Practitioners, Podiatrists, Public Health Professionals.

“These residents are among the most underserved in the state and among the poorest and most economically disadvantaged in the entire country,” said DeLaCerda. “Our program is focused on engaging, recruiting and supporting underrepresented and disadvantaged students interested in pursuing a career in healthcare.”

Current recruitment and academic programs are enhanced with peer mentoring, test preparation, internships, academic advising, and health conferences. New internships and additional programs will be established in high schools and community colleges to help Fresno State University students become competitive medical college applicants.

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