Designed to Increase Diversity in Health Care, UA Health Sciences’ Summer Programs Commence June 5

Friday, June 2, 2017

Four highly competitive University of Arizona Health Sciences Office of Diversity and Inclusion-led summer programs will participate in an opening ceremony Monday, June 5, at 8 a.m., in Drachman Hall, Room A114, 1295 N. Martin Ave., Tucson.

For these advanced health professions summer training programs, the UAHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion recruits and selects from a pool of local and national health sciences academic professionals, as well as local and national undergraduate and graduate students and Arizona high school student applicants.

The UAHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion summer flagship programs were created to increase the number of health sciences researchers, educators and practitioners from diverse backgrounds and to create awareness of health inequities.

Each year, the UAHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion summer programs seek to recruit and ultimately graduate a more diverse student body dedicated to serving Arizona and the nation’s most at-risk and underserved populations.

These flagship programs join other UAHS summer programs hosted by the five UAHS colleges and departments in Phoenix and Tucson to increase awareness and recruit students into the health professions. 

“Our goal is to ensure all communities, including the state’s poorest, most isolated, high-risk and underserved can attain the highest level of health and quality of life,” said Leigh Neumayer, MD, MS, interim UA senior vice president for health sciences. “We work to ensure this by recruiting and graduating medical doctors, nurses, pharmacists, public health professionals and health-scientists who are committed to health equity.”

Because this commitment to diversity and inclusion is a campuswide commitment, UAHS faculty members serve as mentors to these summer scholars and provide research opportunities in their labs to tackle some of health care’s most pressing challenges.

The four UAHS Office of Diversity and Inclusion summer programs are:  

AZ - PRIDE Program

Now in its third year, the AZ-PRIDE Program at UAHS was developed to provide training in the biomedical sciences for early-career academics who come from under-represented minority backgrounds, including people living with disabilities. Funded by a $1.25 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant. Junior faculty members, recruited from universities throughout the nation, will train with UAHS faculty mentors for one year. While training at UAHS, they will gain expertise from some of the nation’s top physician-scientists in the fields of heart, lung, blood and sleep disorders, with the aim to increase the number of underrepresented experts in health disparities research.


Also in its third year, the Border Latino and American Indian Summer Exposure to Research (BLAISER) program works to address health disparities in Arizona’s ethnically diverse and fast-growing communities. The 10-week, paid undergraduate research experience provides an extraordinary laboratory training opportunity, pairing the student scholars with preeminent faculty researchers at UAHS. BLAISER students benefit from the support and community-based immersive training opportunities offered by the Arizona Area Health Education Centers. 

BLAISER, led by Jorge Gomez, MD, PhD, is designed to help underrepresented students, including Latino, Native American and African American undergraduate juniors and seniors, become nationally competitive medical school, health professions and biosciences-focused graduate school applicants. 

FRONTERA Summer Internship Program

FRONTERA (Focusing Research on the Border Area), provides undergraduate students opportunities to prepare for medical school with a hands-on research experience and an increased understanding of public-health disparities in the U.S.-Mexico border region. Participants are matched with UA faculty mentors engaged in biomedical and public-health research that has an impact on border communities. They develop an in-depth understanding of the pathway to medical school, including study and test-taking skills, preparations for the MCAT and drafting a personal statement. Students also travel to border communities, visit health-care facilities and public-health agencies, on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border and participate in service-learning activities.

This program is collaborating with the newly established UAHS Center for Border Health Disparities to increase opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in the health sciences to improve health and wellbeing along the U.S. - Mexico border.


Established in 1969, the Med-Start program has two goals: to address the critical shortage of a diverse health-care workforce and to provide high school juniors opportunities to explore health careers and college opportunities to successfully reach their academic and career goals. The high school students will take an English composition class, an introductory to chemistry lab and learn about college success strategies in structured “College 101” workshops. In addition to exploring health careers, Med-Start students participate in interactive presentations throughout UAHS, learning skills needed in health professions, such as responding to trauma incidents, treating fractures and neck and spine injuries, learning dissection and suturing skills. Med-Start students also benefit from the support and community-based immersive training opportunities offered by the Arizona Area Health Education Centers. 

To learn more about UAHS Diversity and Inclusion Programs, please visit:

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: (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn)

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