UCSF Fresno
Medical Education
155 N Fresno St
Fresno, CA 93701
Tel: (559) 499-6400

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

May 16, 2005


FRESNO – All 28 of the graduating seniors in the UCSF Fresno Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy Program will continue their education at a college or university this fall. Many of the students are the first in their families to attend college.

Doctors Academy leaders will honor the students, who make up the program’s third graduating class, during an awards ceremony set for Tuesday, May 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the performing arts theater at Sunnyside High School (1019 S. Peach Ave. at Kings Canyon Blvd.) in Fresno.

Eight of the Doctors Academy graduates will attend University of California campuses, eleven will enroll at California State University, Fresno, and the remaining students will attend private or community colleges including Brown University, Dominican University, Fresno City College, Fresno Pacific University, and Westmont University.

“These are outstanding students who have worked hard and will now move on to the next phase of their education,” said Katherine A. Flores, MD, director of the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research. “We look forward to their eventual return to work within our community."

This year’s graduates include:

  • Kheng Yang, who is interested in pharmacy and bio-engineering, will attend UC Merced. After completing his undergraduate education, Yang plans to apply to professional schools in California and ultimately intends to return to the Fresno area to care for underserved communities. “I want to be a ‘trail blazer’ by attending a new university, being the first in my family to go onto college and by opening my own clinic here in the Valley one day,” said Yang.
  • Maria Madrigal will participate in the Fresno State Health Career Opportunities Program where she will receive support and academic preparation to become a competitive applicant to health professional schools. After completing graduate school, Madrigal plans to return to Fresno and work as a nutritionist. “I believe coming back to Fresno is important, particularly because I’m bilingual,” said Madrigal. “Providing health services to the Latino community is something I hope to accomplish.”

“I am extremely proud of the Doctors Academy seniors as they have demonstrated outstanding leadership over the past four years,” said Sunnyside High School Interim Principal Sheryl Weaver. “They have set the bar high for future Doctors Academy students to follow, with their commitment to the community and our ‘Wildcat Family’.”


The UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research, in partnership with Fresno Unified School District and Fresno County Office of Education, started the Sunnyside High School Doctors Academy in 1999 as a pilot program to academically prepare educationally disadvantaged students for careers in health and medicine. The program has grown in popularity and scope in the past six years. The Doctors Academy Program currently has 155 students enrolled. The UCSF Fresno Latino Center continues to support and work closely with Fresno Unified School District to sustain this program at Sunnyside High School and provide health career opportunities for eligible students. Due to the success of the Doctors Academy program, a Junior Doctors Academy Program was established in 2000 to provide academic preparation for middle school students. For more information about the Doctors Academy graduation event, please contact Diana Cantu at (559) 253-6715 or (559) 241-7670.