Medical school’s summer mentorship program wins magazine award

Author: Iqbal Pittalwala
August 24, 2021

The School of Medicine’s Future Physician Leaders, or FPL, program has been named a recipient of INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine’s 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award.

One of several pipeline programs offered by the medical school, FPL is a popular nine-week summer mentorship program for about 145 prospective health care students each year who are interested in fulfilling a mission of service to the community. Once participants complete FPL’s four components — the Leadership Lecture Series, Community Health Project, Program Symposium, and Mentorship Program — they get numerous opportunities to attend networking events throughout the rest of the year.

U.S. Rep. Raul Ruiz, M.D., was instrumental in FPL’s founding in 2009, serving as the program’s first director. The program, which had 10 students in its first year, was conceived to address Coachella Valley’s physician shortage and improve health care access in the region. It has since expanded to include other underserved areas of inland Southern California.

According to INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, the award is a “tribute to the people and programs that encourage and inspire a new generation of people to consider careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.”

“The Future Physician Leaders program inspires students from diverse backgrounds to get involved in serving medically underserved communities,” said Teresa Cofield, director of pipeline programs in the School of Medicine. “The program teaches participants to develop community health education projects to provide needed information in the community. This award recognizes FPL’s service mission and commitment to mentoring and preparing pre-health students for medical education.” 

The annual STEM issue of the magazine will feature all 79 recipients of the INSIGHT Into Diversity 2021 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award.