Diversity focus of pre-med event


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University of California, Davis- October 5, 2015- Encouraging and empowering students from diverse backgrounds to enter the medical and health professions is the theme energizing a national conference of more than 8,000 at the University of California, Davis, Oct. 10 and 11.

The 13th annual UC Davis Pre-Medical and Pre-Health Professions National Conference -- the largest conference of its kind in the country -- will feature sessions to help those from historically underrepresented communities see themselves in the professions and overcome obstacles to succeed in the fields of their choosing.

The student-run conference also explores health disparities and how the students can contribute to addressing them, and provides hands-on experiences -- from handling horses to assisting in the emergency delivery of a baby manikin.

Interactive workshops (video, 40 seconds): https://youtu.be/7UeSM4XfBxs

"The students who attend this conference are the future of health care and research," said Dr. Julie Freischlag, vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at UC Davis. "Our professions need all the rich experiences, backgrounds and perspectives that they will bring." Freischlag will make opening remarks at the conference at 8 a.m. Saturday in the Pavilion.

Among the keynote speakers will be Dr. David Hoyt, executive director of the American College of Surgeons, on "Health Care Reform Looking Forward" at 9:05 a.m. Sunday in the Pavilion.

Broad range of health professions

The conference includes programs in medicine, veterinary medicine, nursing, public health, dentistry, pharmacy, optometry, doctoral programs in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), physical therapy and occupational therapy.

It attracts representatives of some 600 health programs and offers more than 500 workshops and other activities on the breadth of career opportunities, preparing for admission exams, paying for medical school and more.

In the medical program, two-hour "rotations" give students the opportunity to talk with doctors from about 20 medical and surgical specialties.

On Sunday, students can try their hands at suturing, assisting in an emergency delivery using a baby manikin, performing an ultrasound examination, using pressure and tourniquets to control bleeding, immobilizing a patient's spine to prepare for transportation, handling horses and cattle, and providing first aid to dog models.

Motivating diversity

Mark Cayabyab, a Filipino-American, led the programming for the veterinary medicine track, which includes a diversity forum; a workshop on issues that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and other students may face; and a session on women in large animal practice.

"Diversity is very important to me because growing up I didn't see many people who look like me," said Cayabyab, who graduated from UC Davis in 2014 and plans on attending vet school. "Through my position at the conference, I want to reflect the true diversity of California and inspire students to consider a career in veterinary medicine."

Keynote speakers

In addition to Hoyt, keynote speakers include leaders in academia, professional organizations, and industry. Among them are two Nobel laureates in medicine:

* Carol Greider, professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, on "Curiosity Driven Science" at 8:15 a.m. Saturday in the Pavilion; and
* Randy Schekman, professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley, on "Training and Career Development in the Biomedical Sciences" at 9:45 a.m. Saturday in the Pavilion.

See the complete list at http://www.ucdprehealth.org/keynotes/

Organized by and for students

The conference is organized by the UC Davis Pre-Health Student Alliance, a partnership of pre-medical and pre-health student organizations, fraternities and sororities at UC Davis and other colleges in Sacramento.

Registration, which is required, is still available. The conference program, including a full schedule, is available online.

Additional information:
* Conference website: http://www.ucdprehealth.org
* Conference program: http://tinyurl.com/ojx6rgd
* Keynote speakers: http://www.ucdprehealth.org/keynotes/
* Interactive campus map: http://campusmap.ucdavis.edu