Shortage of Latino Medical Professionals in the Valley

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Watch news report here.

Fresno, Calif. – There’s a growing need for Central Valley natives to get into the medical profession, especially amongst the latino community.

Christian Bonilla grew up in Selma where many of his loved ones and friends work in the fields.

He says he noticed doctors weren’t close to his neighborhood and many field workers never went to the city to get help.

“Just because of lack of confidence, you touch upon their status as immigrants and the language barrier that exists,” said Bonilla.

That’s why he is going to medical school to be a family practitioner in his community.

“I definitely feel like there is more that can be done to serve this population and i see medicine as the best way to do that ..

Katherine Flores organized the forum to encourage more local latinos become doctors.

She says hispanics make up more than 50 percent of the population in some areas yet are less than five percent are doctors in the Valley.

“When you look at dentists, nurses, pharmacists the numbers are equally low so we have a big job to expose our students to the health profession,” said Flores.

Assemblyman and practicing Doctor Joaquin Arambula says Fresno already has a residency program, but he’s introduced AB-207 to try and build a medical school here.

He believes it will increase the number of homegrown physicians.

“What would excite me is thinking of how our high school students could have a natural progression to go from college into medical school and into residency so they can stay here,” said Arambula.

The hope is to get more people like Bonilla: someone who is from the Valley and not only wants to be a doctor, but wants to do it right here at home.

“I want to help the people that are from the Valley because i’m from the Valley.

 

By: Gregory Woods

Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc.

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