Volume II | Spring 2023
The UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence
Dear LCOE Friends and Colleagues,

As we enter the third year of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are reflecting on our growth and development since March 2020. The LCOE actively participated in the COVID-19 response in a variety of ways ranging from direct community engagement with local COVID-19 testing events and community outreach, to researching disparities in COVID-19 illness, deaths, and vaccine access among communities of color in San Francisco and across the state. Our partnerships with community groups have grown tremendously over the last year, expanding our reach and our own learning. Please see below for exciting details.

Of course, the LCOE continues its core commitment to increasing healthcare workforce diversity. Our programs work across the learning spectrum, from undergraduates to faculty. We collaborate with undergraduates from Fresno and San Francisco State Universities and UC Merced; medical students and residents at UCSF; faculty members early in their UCSF careers; and volunteers at Clínica Martín Baró, a community clinic serving marginalized communities within the Mission District of San Francisco.

We hit the ground running in 2022 by receiving a five-year grant renewal from HRSA, which allows us to fund and expand our programs through 2027. We were also honored and delighted to receive pilot funding from the Hellman Foundation.
We are excited to share our progress with you. With many new projects and programs in the works, we are grateful for your support and look forward to another exciting year!

Alicia Fernández, MD
Director, UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence
Associate Dean of Population Health and Health Equity at UCSF
Faculty Spotlights
The LCOE is growing to meet research demands, community collaborations and program expansions. We have added three LCOE faculty to lead our new initiatives and work with Dr. Alicia Fernández, Director of the LCOE.
Raul Gutierrez, MD, Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, UCSF ZSFG

Raul Gutierrez, MD is Associate Clinical Professor at UCSF, co-director and co-founder of the BRIDGES clinic, Director of the Pediatric Leaders Advancing Health Equity (PLUS) residency program, and newly appointed Director of Children and Family Initiatives at the LCOE. His academic interests include health equity and wellness for immigrant children and their families, school-based health interventions for immigrant students, and increased advocacy for underserved children and their families through partnerships with community-based organizations. In his new role with the LCOE, Dr. Gutierrez will focus on expanding and strengthening the LCOE’s partnerships with community-based organizations who serve marginalized communities. Dr. Gutierrez will also be leading a new partnership with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and their Families (DCYF) as well as our Leadership, Advocacy, Community Engagement Summer Program (LACES), to educate physicians in training on effective community engagement.
Marlene Martin, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, ZSFG Hospitalist
Marlene Martin, MD is Associate Professor of Medicine at UCSF, a coach for medical students in the UCSF San Joaquin Valley (SJV) PRIME program, and the Director of Addiction Initiatives at the LCOE. Her academic interests include health systems improvement with a focus on addiction, community engagement, Latinx health and care transitions. During the first two years of the pandemic, Dr. Martin led the implementation of a promotor/a based Latinx COVID-19 Enhanced Case Investigation and Contact Tracing effort. As the LCOE transitions out of the pandemic, Dr. Martin’s focus will be on unhealthy alcohol use in the Latinx community and developing a promotor/a-led alcohol education initiative in partnership with public health officials and community-based organizations. Through this initiative, she hopes to improve the outcomes associated with unhealthy alcohol use, and maintain, build, and grow community partnerships to design and implement innovative interventions that promote equitable addiction services and resources for our community.
Manuel Tapia, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Department of Family and Community Medicine
Manuel Tapia, MD is Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF, Vice Chair for Diversity for the Department of Family and Community Medicine, and Director of Workforce Initiatives at the LCOE. His academic interests include primary care in under-resourced communities, health professions pathway initiatives, medical education and UIM mentorship. In his new role with the LCOE, Dr. Tapia will lead research issues affecting the diversity of medical education, guide pathway programs focused on community college and undergraduate pre-health professions students who have been historically underrepresented, and represent the LCOE at local, state, and national conferences related to workforce diversity.
LCOE Programs

We made some changes to our programs due to COVID that have improved our student experiences. You will notice that our Aspiring Physicians Program (APP) combined both campuses, SFSU and Fresno State, and expanded to UC Merced.This change allows students from all three campuses to access more professionals through virtual webinars and create a greater network of like-minded pre-med students. Other programs went hybrid or are back in-person. Read on for more information about our LCOE programs.
Word Cloud representing how our 2022 APP scholars felt after participating in the summer program.
Undergraduate Program
The Aspiring Physicians Program provides undergraduate pre-medical students with exposure to faculty mentorship, health policy and advocacy research, an introduction to MCAT preparation, and career advising. The program’s goal is to prepare students through a successful medical school admissions process. The LCOE continues its partnerships with Fresno State University and UC Merced under the direction of Kathy Flores,MD and with San Francisco State University directed by Tomás Magaña, MD, MPH and Kelechi Uwaezuoke, DrPH. Our program develops our scholar’s exposure, access, and confidence to pursue and achieve a career in medicine.

The APP is broken into two sessions:
  • Summer session: June 5 - July 14, 2023
  • Academic session: September, 2023 - May, 2024

During the summer, both campuses come together through Zoom for a six-week intensive program. This past summer we held hybrid programming where each cohort had twice-weekly in-person meetings in a conference room and were joined by the other cohort via Zoom. During the academic year, scholars have one-on-one mentoring sessions with our faculty, access to pre-medical opportunities at UCSF, and UCSF Fresno, as well as assistance with their medical school applications when they are ready to apply.

As of the latest application cycle, nine APP scholars have applied to medical school and eight are currently enrolled in UC medical schools. The next cycle will be our largest number of applicants with approximately 13 APP scholars ready to apply to medical school in June 2023.
Aspiring Physician Program - Scholar Spotlight
Alexander Stacy-Alcantara, Fresno State University, Cohort 2022
“I spent six weeks last summer in the LCOE Aspiring Physicians Program (APP), where I was provided with the connections and opportunities I need to develop myself as a stronger medical school applicant and to learn more about my role in medicine as a future physician.

This program is designed to help UIM pre-med undergraduates who want to become physicians, no matter where they might be on their medical school path. Everyone in the program was so open and supportive of our journeys to medical school and were eager to provide mentorship. They worked with every student to provide resources, guidance, and support. The program also gave me the chance to make connections to my peers, at Fresno State, UC Merced, and SF State, who shared information about awesome programs they found useful.

The APP program also gave me the confidence to know that I can be a physician and that my experiences and background make me distinctive. The APP faculty, medical students, and other physicians helped us understand the importance of having diverse physicians caring for an ever-growing diverse patient population. This makes a lot of sense given the challenges people face in accessing quality healthcare in the Central Valley, where I live.

For me, the greatest benefit of this program was the plethora of people that I connected with. Everyone in this program came from diverse backgrounds and with various areas of expertise. I felt that no matter what question I had, no matter what obstacle I ran into, they were there to help me. APP also worked with us to understand our role as future physicians and our impact on the communities we aspire to serve. We were provided with many speakers and professionals to help us delve into the diverse ways we can make a difference, whether through policy making, community outreach, or combining those two with a Master’s in Public Health.

I encourage pre-med students on my campus to apply to the program. Whether they are just beginning their journey in medicine or getting close to applying to medical school, the APP program will give you all the support you need to be ready for your next step and elevate your confidence in knowing that you belong in medical profession.”
Sydney Miller, San Francisco State University, Cohort 2021

"UCSF LCOE Aspiring Physicians Program (APP) at San Francisco State University is much more than a six-week intensive program which prepares undergraduate students from underrepresented communities for medical school. It is a program that provided me with priceless friendships, mentors, connections, and experiences.
Mentorship is a powerful tool that is not always easily accessible to those who need it the most. Before participating in the program, I lacked a mentor who understood the journey I was beginning and how to help me accomplish my dream of becoming a physician. As I completed the summer program, I met more medical students and physicians of color than I had seen in my entire life. It was an overwhelming experience for me, but my mentors within the program helped guide me through those emotions. They pushed me to understand why representation in the medical field is so important.

As I completed the intensive summer program, I left understanding more about myself, my community, and mentorship than I had imagined. After completing the summer intensive, I became a mentor myself with City of Dreams, the community-based organization I partnered with during the program. One of my mentors connected me to an OB/GYN physician, Dr. Malini Nijagal, who does important work in her community. I now intern with Dr. Nijagal's organization. This organization provides comprehensive services for under-resourced pregnant women and their families, including health/wellness services, educational services, and food resources. My work with Dr. Nijagal has been incredibly empowering. It has increased my passion to become a physician and work within my community.

The Aspiring Physicians Program is an incredible opportunity for anyone who can participate. The experiences I gained as a member of the 2021 cohort positively impacted my journey to become a physician and the person and student that I am today."
Aspiring Physicians Program - Scholar Updates
Congratulations to our former APP scholars thriving in medical school!
Entered Medical School in 2022
Ali Abdullah
Fresno State
UC Davis SoM, MS1
Christopher Scippio
San Francisco State
UC Davis SoM, MS1
Jessica Valdez
Fresno State
UC Davis SoM, MS1
Entered Medical School in 2022
Griselda Aguilar
Fresno State
UC Davis SoM, MS2
Andrew Contreras
Fresno State
UCSF, SJV Prime, MS2
Antonio Diaz
Fresno State
Rojina Nekoonam
Fresno State
UCSF, SJV Prime, MS2
Alyssa Rivera
Fresno State
UCSF, SJV Prime, MS2
UCSF Medical Student Programs
Academic and Leadership Academy Summer Program (ALAS)
Drs. Denise Connor, Sarah Alba-Nguyen, and Alicia Fernández lead this program for rising second-year UIM medical students. In the summer of 2022, ALAS welcomed 20 medical students to participate in a three-day intensive leadership program before going on the hospital wards. The students worked in small groups with faculty and learned to refine their clinical reasoning skills and oral case presentations, tools essential to their success in the clinical environment. Students interacted with diverse faculty from a range of specialties and discussed aspects of the hidden curriculum that could aid their success in the coming year.
"This was a really nice, judgment free environment that allowed us to practice some of the most important clinical skills that are needed to effectively communicate and care for patients. This session also helped solidify a lot of what I have learned through CMC. Additionally, I feel more prepared or more confident in some of my skills after taking this program.”

“This section was very much needed; I was completely lost before today. I really did not really understand the different sections of H&P and how that translated into the oral presentation, this provided a safe space for me to practice. My facilitator provided a lot of useful feedback, and her explanations made me understand better how to structure various parts of H&P.”

~Anonymous Student Quotes from ALAS Evaluation

Photo below: ALAS, MS2 students met with Drs. Sarah Alba-Nguyen, Rosny Daniel, Melissa Coleman, and Denise Connor to discuss their experience on the UCSF wards.
Promoting Research Opportunities Fully-Prospective Academics Transforming Health (Prof-Path)
PROF-PATH is an academic and research career-training program for UIM medical students interested in health disparities research. UCSF faculty Drs. Alma Martinez, Peter Ureste and Alicia Fernández lead this program.

PROF-PATH is starting its fourth year under the direction of the LCOE and its eighth year overall. Ten rising second year UIM medical students participated in this seven-week research program over the summer. The goal is to provide the students with a sense of community and support them with careers-in-progress sessions, mentorship, and an understanding of research funding.

“I thought it was most valuable to hear other people's perspectives about what factors influence them toward or away from a career in academic medicine.”

“I appreciated the opportunity to grow my skills in the PROF-PATH sessions while also being able to practice them in a safe place with my mentor.”

~ Anonymous Student Quotes from PROF-PATH Evaluation 2022
UCSF Residents
UCSF faculty Drs. Sarah Alba-Nguyen, Michelle Guy, and Meshell Johnson lead this program, with the goal to increase individual and group mentorship opportunities for Latinx and other UIM residents across all departments at UCSF. SALUD encourages residents to consider an academic career, assists in forming key relationships with faculty researchers and clinician educators, and addresses personal and group barriers to achieving success in academic careers.
The SALUD program also works closely with the UCSF Graduate Medical Education (GME) Pathways Program to deliver interactive career development workshops for Latinx/UIM residents across all pathways. In partnership with GME, SALUD hosts four annual UIM resident events focused on making changes towards equity in clinical research, medical education, advocacy, mentorship, and community partnerships.
UCSF Faculty
This faculty/fellow development program enhances UCSF’s ability to recruit, retain, and promote Latinx and other UIM faculty and fellows. The program leaders are Drs. Elizabeth Harleman, Meshell Johnson, and Alicia Fernández.

FUEGO just finished its fourth year, and in September 2022, welcomed eight new Watson Scholars. These scholars participate in nine sessions throughout the year that focus on how to navigate a career in academic medicine, create an individual development plan, and explore lessons learned from former Watson Scholars. During the academic year, FUEGO provides one-hour sessions designed to enhance academic and research skills such as personal finance, manuscript development, grant preparation, mentorship, and oral presentations, and addresses self-efficacy and positive scientific career outcomes at UCSF.
October 2021: Watson Scholars at the FUEGO reception with scholarship honoree Dr. John Watson, PhD, emeritus faculty
October 2022: Watson scholars listening to Welcome remarks at the FUEGO reception
Community Clinic Partnership

This student-run clinic, located in San Francisco’s Mission neighborhood, helps address the medical needs of predominantly uninsured Latinx day laborers. Clínica leadership is composed of SFSU student volunteers and six UCSF medical student coordinators who actively run the day-to-day functions of the Clínica. The clinic is a collaboration between faculty advisors from SFSU, Felix Kury, and UCSF Dr. Manuel Tapia.

The LCOE provided CMB with support in establishing a new CMB website as well as an innovative mentorship program created by Dr. Manuel Tapia, which focuses on mentorship triads to sustain the relationships between SFSU undergraduates and busy UCSF medical students. In addition, the LCOE and CMB partnership resulted in the establishment of a 10-week Family and Community Medicine elective, Contemporary Issues in Latinx Health (FCM 184). The elective is for students in UCSF professional schools and focuses on medical management of vulnerable and underserved populations.
February 2022, CMB faculty advisors, SFSU student volunteers, and UCSF medical students coordinators at the CMB Retreat.
Key Initiatives
In addition to the LCOE’s programmatic efforts and expansion areas, we have been actively investing in developing local, regional, and state level partnerships. Our goal with this work is to advance discussions regarding curriculum reform, healthcare workforce diversification, and health equity for Latinx populations in California. Use this link to read more about LCOE key initiatives

Healthcare Workforce Development
With funding from the California Health Care Foundation, we are conducting an investigation of pre-medical advising at universities across the state in collaboration with the Healthforce Center at UCSF. The results of this research, which began in June 2022, will be used to shed light on state-wide advising gaps and advocate for the allocation of additional resources where needed.

We are also actively participating in the California Health Professions Consortium where we meet with stakeholders from across the state to discuss issues in workforce diversity through our LCOE efforts.

We are developing a partnership with the UCSF Early Academic Outreach Program, local community colleges, and local four-year universities to bolster existing pathway programs. Our goals with this initiative are to:

  • Strengthen Bay Area community college pathway and transfer programs for students interested in health professions from historically excluded groups (HEG)

  • Create a community of practice, support, mentorship, and sponsorship for Bay Area pre-health profession students from HEG.

  • Amplify existing pathway programs by advocating for more institutional acceptance.
LCOE in the Community
September 2020: The LCOE team working at the Fruitvale Testing event in Oakland.

Read what we learned from the research on the Fruitvale Testing event.
Comunidad Contra Covid
The LCOE is proud to have contributed to Comunidad Contra COVID in partnership with Dolores Street Community Services, Mission Economic Development Agency, and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. The promotores excelled in their roles to support the Latinx community with case investigation, contact tracing, and wrap around services. They are now part of the San Francisco Department of Public Health's Community Health Worker Academy and continuing to support our Latinx community.
Community Vaccine Ambassadors
The Community (Vaccine) Ambassador Program (CAP) was launched in April 2021 as a collaborative partnership between the Latinx Center of Excellence, SF Department of Public Health, and The Unity Council. The goal of the program was to address low COVID-19 vaccination rates in marginalized communities and provide assistance in accessing the COVID vaccine. The program incorporated career development sessions that introduced the student ambassadors to various health career pathways.
The LCOE trained a diverse group of 50 pre-health students from San Francisco State and Cal State East Bay Universities. The students worked with SF Department of Public Health, the Unity Council, and other local community-based organizations to conduct outreach and registrations for COVID vaccines in the San Francisco and East Bay areas.
The focus areas for this outreach were low-income communities of color such as the Mission District, Excelsior, Tenderloin, Fruitvale, Richmond, and Concord. By the end of our program in December 2021, our ambassadors interacted with more than 28,866 community members and successfully scheduled over 3,151 vaccine appointments throughout San Francisco and the East Bay. Many thanks to the Crankstart Foundation for funding this important program.
Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF)
In the summer of 2022, the LCOE partnered with the SF Department of Children, Youth, and Families (DCYF) to offer health-focused programming to five community-based organizations (CBOs) that serve San Francisco’s historically marginalized communities. These partnerships will continue through the 2022-2023 school year, with a focus on creating structures for long-lasting relationships between the LCOE and the CBOs. The LCOE also led Leadership, Advocacy, and Community Engagement Summer (LACES), a summer program for physicians-in-training that focuses on teaching and practicing effective community engagement. Following participation in curricular sessions on this topic, students worked together with local CBO leadership and staff to develop and implement health-focused trainings into summer youth programming, preparing them to work with diverse populations as they continue in their medical careers.
COVID Research
Starting in December 2020, the LCOE has been a key member of the statewide STOP COVID CA coalition, whose focus is to increase vaccine access and uptake in communities of color across the state. The team conducted focus groups with over 100 Black/African American, Latinx and Asian American/Pacific Islander adults and young adults and published their findings in these COVID-19 policy briefs.
The LCOE joined the California Virtual Training Academy—a partnership between UCLA, UCSF, and the California Department of Public Health—to develop and implement trainings for vaccine outreach specialists at local health jurisdictions across the state. The VTA continues to provide up-to-date trainings regarding the COVID-19 vaccine to increase equity in access and uptake. Check out the California Virtual Training Academy for more information about vaccine and other VTA trainings.
The LCOE partnered with the offices of Alumni Relations, Diversity and Outreach, and Vice Chancellor Francesca Vega on November 15, 2022, to host an evening of networking and a private viewing of Diego Rivera’s America. Alumni, faculty, and staff from all UCSF schools enjoyed an outdoor reception, an introduction from Vice Chancellor Vega, and unobstructed views of Rivera’s work from the 1920s to the mid-1940s.
Alumni Weekend: April 14-15

Experience UCSF Alumni relations’ hybrid-style weekend of events April 14-15, 2023! Join us live at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco or virtually. Alumni Weekend is packed with fun and educational events for all alumni, including Friday’s Opening Session with Chancellor Sam Hawgood, the Kickoff Reception, and school-specific receptions to reconnect with classmates and colleagues. We hope to see you there and welcome you back to UCSF.
Pre-registration for in-person events is now closed. You may register onsite, space permitting. Registration for virtual events is still available here: Register here now

UCSF Connect is the official online networking platform for UCSF alumni, students, residents, fellows, postdocs, faculty, and staff. Sponsored by the UCSF Alumni Associations and the Office of Career and Professional Development (OCPD), UCSF Connect allows you to connect with current students, residents, fellows, classmates and colleagues, expand your network, and learn about UCSF events and opportunities. Sign up and affiliate with a variety of "affinities" to more directly connect with our vast Latinx comunidad.

Signing up for UCSF Connect is free and quick when importing your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t use LinkedIn, create an account with your email.
Help us in congratulating our LCOE faculty who have received numerous awards, recognitions, and important appointments.
Leticia Rolón, MD received the Holly Smith Award for Exceptional Service to the School of Medicine. Read the announcement
Lisa Fortuna, MD received the AACAP Irving Philips, MD, Award for Prevention and the 2022 Frances J. Bonner, MD Award. Read the announcement.

Elena Fuentes-Afflick, MD, MPH, was named Vice Dean of the UCSF SOM at ZSFG. Read the press release.

Christina Mangurian, MD, MAS was appointed to the UCSF School of Medicine, Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs. Read the announcement.
Robert Rodriguez, MD was appointed the first Research Director and Inquiry Advisor for the new medical school venture between UCSF, UC Merced, and UCSF Fresno: SJV PRIME+
Manuel Tapia, MD, MPH was recognized as an exceptional leader by National Minority Quality Forum in their 40 under 40 Leaders in Health Awards.

Yoselin G. Castillo, BA joined the LCOE as a Health Career Connections intern the summer of 2020. As an intern, she provided programmatic support for the Aspiring Physicians Program (APP) at Fresno State/SFSU. After completing her undergraduate degree in Sociology from UC Berkeley, she joined the UCSF Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology as a part-time research data analyst. In that role, she provided programmatic support and project management for COVID-19 initiatives, such as the COVID-19 Vaccine Speakers Group and the Community Vaccine Ambassador Program in collaboration with the SF Department of Public Health and The Unity Council. Yoselin rejoined the LCOE team, full-time as a Research Analyst in the summer of 2021. In this position, she continues to provide administrative and programmatic support for LCOE programs and community partnerships. Through her current role, she hopes to gain experience and exposure to help narrow her future career goals in addressing community health barriers through Public Health or Medicine.
Francine Rios-Fetchko, BA became a part of the LCOE team in 2020 after receiving a degree in political science from Yale University. Since joining the LCOE, she has served as Dr. Fernandez’s academic research assistant and has been a member of our Workforce and Child Health Initiatives. Francine leads our partnership with the San Francisco Department of Children, Youth, and their Families with Dr. Raul Gutierrez. She also works with Dr. Manuel Tapia on a research project supported by the California Healthcare Foundation focused on pre-health advising across the state of California. Her research and community engagement interests center around chronic disease care and mental health services for children and families from historically marginalized communities. In the future, Francine aspires to be a physician devoted to serving these communities and addressing issues of health equity through population and individual level work.
Madison Rodriguez, BA started her journey with the LCOE in the summer of 2020 as a Health Career Connections student intern. In that role, she managed the LCOE Street Team, a volunteer group of UCSF students and local community members that disseminated evidence-based information about COVID-19 safety and local resources. Madison returned to the LCOE after working at the UCSF Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative on the California Statewide Study of Homelessness where she traveled throughout California interviewing people experiencing homelessness. In her current role, she works on pathway initiatives with Drs. Manuel Tapia and Randy Jackson, addiction medicine research with Dra. Marlene Martin, and works with LCOE APP program at San Francisco State, and the ALAS Program. Her favorite thing about this role is the exposure to positively impact health equity across a variety of methods. Madison plans to pursue a PhD in Social and Behavioral Health with a focus on building up equitable harm-reduction programs and drug policy reform.
Connie Calderón-Jensen, MA has been the Associate Director of the LCOE for the past 4 years, and previously worked with the UCSF School of Medicine Post- Baccalaureate Program. She leads the LCOE’s HRSA programs, outreach efforts, communications, meetings with the Executive and Advisory Councils, and manages the overall administration of the LCOE. She collaborates with a variety of UCSF offices and organizations, as well as community groups, undergraduate programs, and professional organizations seeking to increase the number of Latinx physicians in California and across the nation. Her professional mission has always focused on providing access to higher education for underrepresented students. Connie received her BA in Political Science from UC San Diego and a MA in International Policy Studies and Spanish from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey (MIIS).
Aspiring Physician Program Scholars: Thank You video
Contact Us
The Latinx Center of Excellence
Phone: (628) 206-5198
Email: latinx@ucsf.edu
Website: Latinx.ucsf.edu
The UCSF LCOE is jointly funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and UCSF. The center is housed within the UCSF School of Medicine, with close affiliation with the Center for Vulnerable Populations at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG).