Bay Area high school students have big ambitions to lead medical field

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A group of Bay Area high school students has been working hard this summer to become the next leaders in the medical world.

For the past five summers, the UCSF Orthopaedic Trauma Insitute at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital has been sponsoring 15 incoming seniors from Galileo, Wallenberg and Burton High Schools in San Francisco, and Richmond and Pinole Valley High Schools in the East Bay for their 'Junior Academy'.

"It's a commitment I'm excited to do," says Luis Campos, one of the students in this summer's Academy. Luis goes to Richmond High School and says he was encouraged by one of his teachers to apply to the program. For the past 8 weeks, he has been taking BART into San Francisco for the full-time workshop. "I have loved being here, it's great."

We first met Campos while he was shadowing a physician in a diabetes clinic at the hospital. At just 16 years old, Campos was able to assist UCSF endocrinologist, Dr. Elizabeth Murphy, while she was evaluating a Spanish-speaking patient. Campos, who is bilingual, was able to translate. Dr. Murphy says the program gives the young students an authentic, hands-on medical experience, "it gives these kids a really early exposure to the medical field, all parts of it, not just being a physician, but being a medical assistant or physical therapist."

Campos' father is diabetic and he says he has been able to take lessons he's learned at the hospital home, to try and educate his father about wellness. "I saw that within the medical field I am able to help others and that's my main concern. That's the reason that I chose this type of career path because I've seen the type of community that I come from and they need a lot of help "

"Although they may not have all the resources, they do have the ability," says program director, Robert Rhee who hopes to challenge the
students by exposing them to new opportunities. Rhee says the students work in fourteen different departments at
the hospital over the summer, "everything from the operating room... to the diabetes clinic... to our ortho program here at the hospital."

Rhee also says it's not always financially feasible to go to medical school, so one of the goals of the program is to educate the students about
the myriad of career options in medicine that don't require a medical degree.

"The students are people that we see to be aspiring leaders and people who can affect change within their community, communities that are under-represented, communities that are underprivileged," says Rhee.

Campos says he's been inspired this summer and hopes to pursue a career in physical therapy, saying "I think i could really do this." He starts his senior year in a few weeks and plans on applying to the U-C system. "No one in our family is actually a part of any type of career within the
medical field, so I'll possibly be the first one." He says his family is very proud and supportive.

UCSF says that many of their students, who are often the first in their families to attend college, have gone onto medical school, nursing school and physical therapy programs. This year's Junior Academy class will graduate from their program tomorrow after they finish and present their final projects.
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