Growing up poor, undocumented and lacking access to healthcare, José Eduardo Molina, DDS, knew early on he wanted to become a doctor. In 1999, he joined the first class of the UCSF Fresno Doctors Academy at Sunnyside High School. There, he took part in the program designed to prepare him for college and ideally, a health professional career caring for patients in the San Joaquin Valley. In 2002, he took a field trip to UCSF. There, he met Art Mirelez, DDS, then a fourth-year dental student. As teenagers, both had experienced embarrassing dental conditions. That common connection contributed to Dr. Mirelez becoming Molina's professional and personal mentor. Fourteen years later, that mentorship and friendship turned into a business relationship when Mirelez recently hired Molina to work at his Fresno-based practice Mirelez Wellness Dental. Both are happy to be working together and providing care in the Valley. Their story is just one of the pipeline program successes. To prepare for dental school, Mirelez had participated in the UCSF Fresno Health Careers Opportunity Program at Fresno State, which is the university equivalent to the Doctors Academy.
Email Brandy Nikaido at firstname.lastname@example.org with comments and suggestions.