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UA Health Sciences Launches Bus Stop Ad Campaign To Increase Diversity in Health Care

Monday, July 24, 2017

Twenty years ago, working in the kitchen washing pots and pans and then as a housekeeper and patient tech at then-University Medical Center (now Banner-University Medical Center), Jose Granados had no idea he eventually would become a critical care nurse.

“Based on the amount of times I was used to interpret on the patient floors, I realized the need for more Spanish-speaking staff serving the patient population,” said Granados.

Granados still works at Banner – UMC but now is a critical care nurse seeking a master of science in nursing clinical systems leadership at the UA College of Nursing.

Granados is one of several University of Arizona Health Sciences students and faculty members who volunteered, are featured and who inspired the UA Health Sciences’ “!Eres Tu! This is you!” bus stop ad campaign.

The “!Eres Tu! This is you!” campaign was developed by the UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion, led by Francisco A. Moreno, MD, assistant vice president for diversity and inclusion. Together with the Hispanic Center of Excellence, these programs work to increase the recruitment, education and training of future doctors, nurses, pharmacists and public health educators, practitioners and leaders from diverse backgrounds. The ad campaign can be seen on bus stops throughout Tucson from June 26 – Aug. 14.

To view a video of the Eres Tu campaign, please visit: https://youtu.be/JNRyoLKuM8E

At first, graduating from high school was the most important educational achievement in the eyes of her mother who emigrated from Mexico. Today, Julie Najar, a second-year medical student at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, is thankful for the support of her family and faculty mentors for filling her with the confidence to pursue research training at the National Institutes of Health and to aim for medical school.

“I applied to the UA College of Medicine – Tucson because of its proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, the population and the opportunity to work with underserved populations. I have spent the last four weeks working in Nogales, Ariz., less than 5 minutes from the border through the College’s Rural Health Professions Program. Every day, I am able to speak to patients in the language they feel most comfortable in and help educate them on preventative and chronic care. I never knew that I could become a doctor, but with immense support from mentors, family and friends, I can now proudly say that I am a medical student at the UA and I want to encourage other students to consider health care as a career,” said Najar.

Debra Droopad, a third-year pharmacy student at the UA College of Pharmacy, who also volunteered to be featured in the “!Eres Tu! This is you!” campaign, knew she wanted to pursue a career in health care because her mom was a nurse. She found a love for pharmacy because of her interests in chemistry and math and wants to raise awareness of careers in health care. 

“Most people don’t know that I was born deaf so as a person with a hearing disability there are barriers to overcome. Pharmacy has allowed me to learn to overcome that with skills to communicate with the patients that has intensified my passion in this profession. Pharmacy was perfect because it involves the combination of interacting with patients and being a detective when it comes to analyzing their medications for any concerns in terms of drug interactions or therapeutic effect,” said Droopad.

Working part-time at Target while pursuing a degree in nursing, Krizol Alvarez switched to pharmacy after constantly being called to the pharmacy at Target to translate in Spanish. She soon was being trained as a pharmacy technician and became the first to graduate from college in her family.

“If you are at all interested in a career in health care, speak to as many people as you can and learn about the opportunities. I was thankful I got to learn about pharmacy and now through the “!Eres Tu! This is you!” campaign, I want to encourage others to consider health professions as a career,” said Alvarez, who is pursuing a doctor of pharmacy degree at the UA College of Pharmacy.

Danny Robles, MS, a second-year medical student at the UA College of Medicine – Tucson, earned his way into the college through the Pre-Medical Admissions Pathway (P-MAP) Program. P-MAP, a UA Health Sciences “bridge program,” administered by the UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion, is a 12-month, full-time, intensive medical school preparation program designed for Arizona residents who face educational and/or economic disadvantages and who are first-generation college students; students who grew up in rural or U.S./Mexico border communities or are registered members of federally recognized tribes.

Robles, who graduated with degrees in biochemistry and cellular biology from the UA, earned a master’s degree in cellular and molecular medicine through P-MAP. “There were many things that influenced me to go into medicine, but perhaps the most impactful was realizing how much of a positive impact I could make in the health-care field simply by speaking Spanish,” he said.

UA Health Sciences faculty members featured on the bus stop ads serve as mentors and role models for students. “The effort and commitment by our students and faculty members is tied to providing better health in our community. Diversity in the health-care workforce is essential if we hope to ensure gains in the health and wellbeing of our state and nation,” said Dr. Moreno.

To learn more about programs and services at the UA Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion, please visit: http://diversity.uahs.arizona.edu/

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences

The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. The UA Health Sciences includes the UA Colleges of Medicine (Phoenix and Tucson), Nursing, Pharmacy and Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the growing Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, the UA Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona and the greater Southwest to provide cutting-edge health education, research, patient care and community outreach services. A major economic engine, the UA Health Sciences employs almost 5,000 people, has nearly 1,000 faculty members and garners more than $126 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: http://uahs.arizona.edu. Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn

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