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University of Arizona Health Sciences Day connects with close to 200 students in Yuma County

Nearly 200 of the top academic performers from around Yuma County gathered at Cibola High School Wednesday, Nov. 7 for the University of Arizona Health Sciences Day to hear, first-hand, the wide number of options available in the health sciences program at the university.

UA Yuma Regional Academic Programs Coordinator Tanya Hodges hosted the event, which has taken place annually for nearly a decade, in partnership with “Friends of Arizona Health Services.”

“The intent is to grow our own doctors and nurses and health professionals,” Hodges said. “We realized a few years ago that there is a big disconnect between what the students needed to know about the process and the degrees and what they needed to do to prepare themselves to be competitive in the marketplace in competing for these high-profile type of programs.”  Students in audience at UA Health Sciences Day

Yuma County is the only county that UA participates in this type of informational event, which gives students an opportunity to meet current students and representatives from the Colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy and Public Health; learn what classes should be completed in high school to prepare for a career in health sciences; find out about activities that could help boost acceptance in one of the most competitive fields at the university; learn about future job opportunities in the medical field in Yuma; and more.

For Cibola junior Mariessa Madrano the presentations gave her new insight. “I wasn’t very aware of the public health degree or the medical areas, but had mostly gotten info about nursing and pharmacy,” she said. “An event like this shows that the university actually cares about you and wants you to have the best information possible.”

Seven presenters flew in from the UA Tucson campus, including Ted Tong from the College of Pharmacy, Linda Perez from the College of Nursing, Violet Swink and Naiby Rodriguez, who is a former Cibola student, from the College of Medicine, Edgar Villavicenio and Priscilla Ruedas from the College of Public Health, and John Fung from the UAHSC Development Office.

Cibola’s vocational culinary arts program catered spaghetti lunch for students from all six Yuma Union High School District campuses as well as Antelope High School and Yuma Catholic High School.

Eric Patten