UCSF Fresno
Medical Education
2615 East Clinton Ave.
Fresno, CA 93703
Tel: (559) 224-3235

Corinna Kaarlela, UCSF News Director
Brandy Nikaido, Regional Director of Communications, UC Office of the President
Phone: 559.241.7512, Cell: 559.313.6539
Web: www.fresno.ucsf.edu, www.ucsf.edu

January 26, 2005


FRESNO – According to legend, if Punxsutawney Phil, the famous weather forecasting groundhog, sees his shadow in early February, six more weeks of winter weather will follow. When local pharmacists see their shadows next month, a new generation of Valley pharmacists could follow.

On Feb. 3 and 4, the UCSF Fresno Pharmacy Education Program and students from the Doctors Academy at Sunnyside High School in Fresno will team together in honor of National Groundhog Job Shadow Day. As part of a local program, students will be paired with practicing pharmacists in an effort to attract more area students to the profession.

“Job shadowing is a major component of UCSF School of Pharmacy’s local outreach efforts, which are aimed at creating a pipeline of Valley students who pursue careers in pharmacy and are able to meet our future health care needs,” said Fresno native Mitra Assemi, PharmD, director, UCSF Fresno Pharmacy Education Program. “In this case, students will observe first-hand how pharmacists apply their clinical knowledge and skills to promote safe and rational medication use for patients.”

About 22 Doctors Academy students will shadow pharmacists at the California Poison Control Center, Children’s Hospital Central California, Kaiser Medical Center, Longs Drugs and University Medical Center. The diversity of settings, which includes intensive care units, hospital wards, patient clinics, community pharmacies and a poison control center, will expose the students to a variety of career options for pharmacists.

In 2002, the University of California, San Francisco School of Pharmacy established a Pharmacy Education Program in Fresno to help address the shortage of pharmacists in the Valley. The program brings fourth-year students in UCSF's top-ranked pharmacy school to the Fresno area to complete clinical rotations at hospitals, clinics, pharmacies and other organizations.

The Doctors Academy, which is sponsored by the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, is geared toward students interested in careers in the health professions.  The program specifically prepares high school students to become competitive applicants to four-year universities by providing them with a rigorous academic curriculum that includes experiences in research and clinical settings, service learning, and exposure to universities and colleges.

For more information, please call Mitra Assemi with the UCSF Fresno Pharmacy Education Program at (559) 241-7660 or Diana Cantu with the UCSF Fresno Latino Center at (559) 253- 6715 or (559) 241-7676.