Friday, August 29, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

New med students hope to help poor

By
From page A1 | August 01, 2012 |

Six years ago, Leopoldine Matialeu didn’t speak English that well and was living in a shelter with her younger sister after her mother had lost her job.

Today, she is one of 109 UC Davis medical students who will begin classes on Monday.

“My desire to pursue a higher education was a priceless gift that my dad instilled in me,” Matialeu said. “Growing up, I was taught to value religion, education and hard work. I came to the U.S. in 2005 when I was 18 to live with my mother to study in California.

“When we became homeless, I had already started taking pre-med classes at Cañada College and was studying to improve my English. The school, shelters and nonprofit organizations were a tremendous resource.

“These experiences reaffirmed my interest in giving back to the community and becoming a physician who cares for underserved populations. I am honored to be a part of the Class of 2016.”

Matialeu immigrated from Bandja, a small village in the West African country of Cameroon. Fluent in French and Fefe, her native language, she studied and became fluent in English. In 2008, she graduated from community college with honors and was valedictorian. She received a UC Regents scholarship to attend UCD and earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry in 2010.

As an undergraduate student, she helped raise money to send to Sudan for medical supplies through the nonprofit group Doctors Without Borders and volunteered at the Imani Clinic in Sacramento, a community clinic that provides free, non-emergency health care to the uninsured African-American community in Sacramento.

“My background and experience allow me to understand the urgent health care needs of underserved communities,” Matialeu said.

“”In Bandja, many people die from malaria and AIDS, and there are only two doctors and one hospital for about 100,000 people. The lack of resources at the hospital, high level of poverty and corruption, and scarcity of physicians affect the quality of health care. My goal is to help alleviate suffering in communities within and beyond the U.S.”

Matialeu is one of seven students enrolled in the school’s Rural PRIME program, a special curriculum developed to attract and prepare future physicians for careers in medically underserved and diverse communities around the state.

According to Darin Latimore, assistant dean for student and resident diversity at UCD Health System, Matialeu’s path to medical school is unique, but her strong character, compassion, leadership ability and focus on improving health is characteristic of the Class of 2016.

“Our students have demonstrated their ability to overcome challenges and their commitment to helping create a better world for all,” Latimore said. “They dream of becoming leaders in medicine and reducing the disparities that characterize today’s health care system.”

Jessica Buchanan, a Folsom native and UC Berkeley graduate, is keenly aware of social determinants of health and is committed to being a part of the solution.

As an intern and volunteer for two years with the Share Institute, a small nonprofit organization based in Fair Oaks, she focused on improving the health and well-being of women and families in India and Nicaragua.

While on a medical mission to Tamil Nadu, she helped deliver babies in one of the country’s busiest maternity hospitals and designed a first-aid clinic for rural mothers to increase awareness of the symptoms and treatment for dehydration, a major cause of child mortality.

In Nicaragua, she ran a project with the Women in Action nonprofit organization, teaching single mothers to crochet small crafts to earn income and help support their families.

“These experiences opened my eyes to extreme poverty, social injustice and inequality in access to resources and health care,” said Buchanan, who declined a full scholarship to another nationally ranked medical school to attend UCD. “I saw first-hand how compassion can change a community and how anyone can make a difference if they are willing to try.”

Central Coast native Fabian Alberto is committed to becoming a primary-care physician who serves rural residents. The son of farmworkers, Alberto worked in Soledad, with his family in the fields on weekends and during the summer and fall harvests when he was in middle school and high school.

He rarely saw a physician as a child, and it wasn’t until his grandmother was diagnosed with diabetes when he was in high school that he realized a career in medicine was possible. He is the first in his family to graduate from college.

As a student in the UC Merced San Joaquin Valley PRIME program, he wants to learn how to provide care in medically underserved communities and lead efforts to improve access and the quality of services.

“It was such a privilege to work with farmworkers and to know the challenges that they overcome on a daily basis,” Alberto said.

“My goal is to establish a practice where patients feel comfortable about sharing what is ailing them and to go back to the community to ensure youth know about the same opportunities to further their education that I have had. I want to be a leader and mentor to help others become the physicians that the Central Valley needs.”

The school received nearly 5,200 applications for this year’s incoming class and interviewed 503 potential students.

The Class of 2016 consists of 60 women and 49 men. Almost half (43 percent) identified themselves as coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and 42 percent are from populations that are underrepresented in medicine.

Underrepresented populations include American Indian/Alaskan native, black or African American, Hispanic/Latino, native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, and Asians who are not Chinese, Filipino, Japanese, Korean, Asian Indian or Thai.

The incoming class includes five students from Davis: Ariana Hosseini, Patrick Michelier, Peter Nguyen, Charlotte Pickett and Adam Shellito.

— UC Davis Health News Office

Comments

comments

  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Saving Putah Creek: a quiet concert at sunset

    By Elizabeth Case | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Mr. Dolcini goes to Washington

    By Tanya Perez | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Winton to be feted for her many years of community work

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Innovation Center team fields questions

    By Dave Ryan | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    Researchers solve mystery of Death Valley’s moving rocks

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

     
    California extends review of $25B delta plan

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

     
    Assembly approves statewide ban on plastic bags

    By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

    Need a new best friend?

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3 | Gallery

     
    Equestrian eventing competition slated

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Dinner, auction benefit Yolo County CASA

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Forum explores local mental health services

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Solar-cooking workshop set at Food Co-op

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Celebrate the Senior Center at Sept. 9 luncheon

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Kids can sign up for a library card and get a free book

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Explorit Science Center: Volunteers supercharge summer camp

    By Lisa Justice | From Page: A4 | Gallery

    Tee off for Davis’ continued prosperity

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Bodega Marine Laboratory hosts open house

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    Local group charts a year’s worth of beauty in flowers

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

    Free blood pressure screenings offered

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

     
    Name Droppers: UCD honors two of its own

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A6

     
    Books, conversation and poetry at Logos

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Forum

    Let’s sell the MRAP on eBay

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Seeing both sides of ‘tank’

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    What if we need MRAP?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    How could tank be helpful?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: C2

    Don’t sentence our police to death

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: C2, 1 Comment

     
    Will Davis see river water?

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: C2

    Travel buddy is getting too fat

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    .

    Sports

    Returning seniors, new faces lead promising DHS links squad

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Devil golfers return from Scotland with smiles on their faces

    By Evan Ream | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Devils scrimmage with Sac

    By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    UCD-Stanford: the clock is down to counting the minutes

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

    Forget the score; focus on the energy brought by Aggies

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

     
    Wire briefs: Aces cruise past Cats at Raley

    By Wire and staff reports | From Page: B6

    Sports briefs: DHS girls fall by the slimmest of net margins

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B6 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    .

    Arts

    ‘The November Man’: Who can be trusted?

    By Derrick Bang | From Page: A9 | Gallery

     
    B Street’s ‘The Ladies Foursome’ is aces

    By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

    .

    Business

    Technology makes a great car better

    By Ali Arsham | From Page: C1 | Gallery

     
    .

    Obituaries

    Margarita Elizondo

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

     
    Elaine Dracia Greenberg

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

    .

    Comics