NEWS | June 20, 2017

UC Davis Health hosts migrant student workshop


UC Davis Health welcomes 145 migrant high school students Sunday, June 25 for a day of tours, talks and opportunities to learn more about medical science from students, fellows and faculty.

Emanual Maverakis and UC Davis medical students address migrant students in 2016.

The students are part of the Migrant Student Leadership Institute, a program hosted by the College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) at Sacramento State. The residential two-week institute serves migrant and seasonal farmworker high school students from throughout California. It is designed to provide students with the information and tools necessary to become college-ready and competitive candidates for admission to a four-year institution. This year’s institute runs June 19-July 1.

The keynote speaker for the June 25 event will be Dr. Jose Morfin, a health sciences associate clinical professor in the UC Davis Department of Internal Medicine, who has been broadly recognized for his work to increase diversity within the medical school and improve health care for people in underserved communities.

Most of the medical students running the tours and workshops are members of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA). They will also be sharing their stories as part of an open panel discussion.

Activities planned for the visiting students include a visit to a DNA sequencing facility and a tour through observational stations in the laboratory of Emanual Maverakis, associate professor in the Department of Dermatology and a UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center member. Maverakis has been involved with the program for several years and is organizing this year’s event in collaboration with the cancer center.

stem cell lab
Migrant students during 2016 tour of The UC Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures.

“Both Jose Morfin and I started in junior college and worked our way up through the education system,” Maverakis said. “I strongly believe in education as a means to move up socioeconomically, and I am dedicated to providing opportunities to young people who would otherwise be at a disadvantage. Programs like CAMP are essential to allowing them an opportunity to succeed.”

Viridiana Diaz, assistant vice president of strategic diversity initiatives at Sacramento State, said most of the high school participants will be the first in their families to attend college, and so their exposure to various kinds of careers can be limited.

“This partnership with UC Davis allows us to introduce our students to the path to medical school,” she said. “It not only gives them an opportunity to explore the facilities but also to talk to the medical students who can speak of their journey and the steps that they had to take to make it this far. It helps them realize that if it’s possible for someone with a similar background, they can do it themselves.”