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Future Physicians Combine Good Medicine with Good Works.

Kaiser Permanente Awards $50,000 in Scholarships to Advocates for Culturally Responsive Care

PASADENA, Calif. -- Ten local medical students have dedicated themselves to improving healthcare in low-income communities, and in the process will be receiving scholarships today from Kaiser Permanente to help fund their on-going studies and good works. The awards ceremony is scheduled for 6 pm at the Westin Pasadena, Fountain Ballroom and Terrace, 191 N. Los Robles, Pasadena.

In addition to the $5,000 award, the Kaiser Permanente Oliver Goldsmith, M.D. Scholarship for the "Promotion and Advancement of Culturally Responsive Care" includes mentoring from a Kaiser Permanente clinician, and a clinical rotation at a Kaiser Permanente facility.

"These students have already made major contributions to culturally responsive healthcare," said Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) Medical Director Jeffrey Weisz, MD, as the awards were announced. "They are everything we want at Kaiser Permanente -- they are committed to offering the best medical care and have gone above and beyond the call of duty for the community." Following are the scholarship recipients:

Jennifer Aguayo serves as a mentor for at-risk youth through the UC San Diego Latino Medical Student Association and has provided patient advocate services at the Student-Run Free Clinic/Women's Health Clinic.

Yeymi DeLeon's family immigrated to Los Angeles from Guatemala when she was 4 years old and today DeLeon is a resource to her medical peers at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine, helping non-Spanish speaking students to communicate more effectively with patients.

Omar Guzman became interested in medicine while growing up in the San Joaquin Valley - a community largely populated by migrant farm workers. Seeing so much poverty and so little access to health care fueled his desire to become a physician. Omar attends the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine, and has traveled to Nicaragua as part of a cervical cancer prevention program.

Ernesto Chris Mendoza, Jr. helped to set up makeshift clinics in rural farming and fishing villages and translated for the American physicians and nurses triaging patients with the Philippine Medical Missions Foundation. Mendoza is a student leader at the University of Kansas School of Medicine.

Jessica Mercer, a third-year medical student at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, has volunteered at a public hospital in Quito, Ecuador, and uses her Spanish-language skills at Los Angeles County Hospital-USC Medical School to provide counseling and education for young women through the Pregnancy Options Clinic - a project she spearheaded.

Chui-Kyun Park is pursuing his medical degree at the University of California at Davis Medical School and, as co-director of the free student-run Paul Horn Asian Clinic (PHAC), he spends most of his Saturdays serving disadvantaged patients who often have limited English language proficiency. Chui-Kyun's understanding of and empathy for recent immigrants stems from his first-hand experience, feeling the cultural and language barriers when he came to this country at age 13.

Harpreet Singh, a third-year student at the USC Keck School of Medicine, works with healing Hearts Across Borders and has traveled to Tijuana to set up free clinics. Her mother immigrated to the United States from India and this has also given Harpreet an insight and compassion for the immigrant experience.

Efrain Talamantes is active with the pre-medical mentorship program at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and has incorporated a culturally responsive care focus in his leadership role in UCLA's Latino Medical Student Association.

Christopher Tang performed medical mission work in China before entering the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, and has traveled to Mexico to deliver care to people in isolated regions.

Monique White provides free health screens to low-income children and adults as a medical student at the Western University of Health Sciences' College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific in Pomona.

SCPMG Medical Director Jeffrey Weisz, MD, initiated the scholarship in 2004 in recognition of the leadership and support provided by retired SCPMG Medical Director, Oliver Goldsmith, MD, for the Culturally Responsive Care (CRC) Initiative. The CRC Initiative emphasizes the delivery of culturally responsive care to Kaiser Permanente's diverse patient population, aims to ensure that clinicians are prepared to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of patients, and are made aware of the epidemiologic incidence of disease among different racial, ethnic and cultural groups.

Kaiser Permanente is America's leading integrated health plan. Founded in 1945, it is a nonprofit, group practice prepayment program with Southern California headquarters in Pasadena, California. Kaiser Permanente serves the health care needs of 3.3 million members in Southern California. Today it encompasses the nonprofit Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc., Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and their subsidiaries, and the for-profit Southern California Permanente Medical Group. Kaiser Permanente's Southern California Region includes more than 47,530 technical, administrative and clerical employees and caregivers, and more than 5,200 physicians representing all specialties. More information about Kaiser Permanente can be found at www.kaiserpermanente.org.

Editors: Students will be available for interviews and photos at 6 pm today, May 10, at Westin Pasadena, Fountain Ballroom and Terrace, 191 N. Los Robles, Pasadena. Contact Vanessa Hernandez, cell phone (626) 664-0236 for complete biographies.
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Date:May 10, 2007
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