© 2024 KVPR | Valley Public Radio - White Ash Broadcasting, Inc. :: 89.3 Fresno / 89.1 Bakersfield
89.3 Fresno | 89.1 Bakersfield
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

UC Merced looks to Valley high schools for next generation of local doctors

A teacher making a presentation in front of a classroom full of students.
Rachel Livinal
Noreen Balos presented to at least 25 students interested in the SJV PRIME+ program.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the second part of a story about the new SJV PRIME+ program. For KVPR’s original report, click here.

FRESNO, Calif. – Students shuffled into a science classroom at University High School in Fresno on Thursday, filling up empty seats or squeezing together in the back to hear a presentation about a new program from UC Merced and UCSF Fresno that fosters prospective local doctors.

Called SJV PRIME+, the program allows students to obtain their bachelor and medical degrees while staying in the San Joaquin Valley. The program started their first cohort of 15 students in late August, but recruiting has already begun for the next group.

Noreen Balos, the admissions advisor at UC Merced headed the presentation.

“We created a pathway just in the Central Valley,” Balos says.“You finish your bachelor's at UC Merced, you begin your medical training for a year and a half at UC Merced.”

The Valley has seen a drastic shortage of medical professionals for decades. The hope is those students who get their entire medical education in the Valley will practice locally after becoming doctors.

Tayba and Abraham Khan sit at a desk, posing for a photo.
Rachel Livinal
Tayba and Abraham Khan both attend University High School with hopes of becoming doctors in the Central Valley.

“I really want to be able to not only make a difference, but make a difference here and now,” says Tayba Khan, a senior at University High.

Khan plans to apply for the new program. Her brother Abraham, a sophomore, wants to do the same.

“The UCs, it’s like stressful to get in,” says Abraham. “But with this Prime+ program, it lets you connect via your community.”

Applications have already opened, with several students from University High interested in applying.

For information, visit UC Merced’s website.

Rachel Livinal reports on higher education for KVPR through a partnership with the Central Valley Journalism Collaborative.