Dominican students enter Kaiser mentoring program

A dozen Dominican University of California pre-med students were introduced to and paired with physicians from Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday, September 29, at a “kickoff” reception dinner at Dominican for its association with Kaiser Permanente’s Scholars and Mentors Program.

The Kaiser Permanente program is designed to educate and excite students who will be encouraged to learn from and occasionally “shadow” their mentor/physician. Pat Kendall, Medical Group Administrator for Kaiser Permanente’s San Rafael Medical Center, purchased and presented Dominican students with their own laboratory coats during the ceremony. The students will be able to observe emergency room procedures in four-hour shifts at Kaiser during their first semester.

“This mentorship program will provide a rare opportunity for undergraduate students to see firsthand the responsibility and role of a physician.  The program is designed to advance interest in primary care and surgical medicine while encouraging each student to truly excel,” said Chris Grant, Senior Vice President of Kaiser Permanente.  “The diversity of Dominican students closely aligns with the communities Kaiser Permanente serves and the University’s focus on character development and social responsibility fits well with our organizational values and mission … Kaiser Permanente is excited to have the opportunity to motivate and mentor these bright students and future doctors.” 

Grant helped initiate the program at Dominican through an introduction of Dr. Sibdas Ghosh, Associate Dean for Academic Development at the School of Health and Natural Science and Dr. David Shearn, MD, Director of Kaiser Permanente’s Physician Education and Development and Dr. Bruce Blumberg, MD Director of Graduate Medical Education and Kaiser Permanente’s Medical Residency Program. 

Dr. Lori Selleck, APIC of Health Promotion at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, then was brought in to work with Dr. Ghosh to develop the program and identify physicians who would be interested in serving as mentors.

“The physicians I contacted jumped at the chance to serve as mentors, partly because they love what they do and the difference they make in patients lives and also to share their experiences to help the students clarify if medicine is a right career choice for them,” Selleck said. “Of course, steering students this far upstream into primary care and general surgery, two areas that will be essential in health care reform, was also motivating.

Dominican identified, selected and nominated students to work with physicians from the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center. The “shadowing” opportunity for Dominican’s pre-med students will help secure increased acceptance rate upon graduation. Each will meet with their mentor/physician at least once a month for one year.

The 12 Dominican students selected to participate in the first program of its kind at the University are Ariana Rodriguez of W. Rexburg, Id., Stephanie Huezo of Fallbrook, Mandy Omoregie of Elk Grove, Manuel Montalban of Suisun City, Michelle Pogozelski of Citrus Heights, Christen Grant of San Diego, Jordan Kiefer O’Sullivan of Campbell, Rebeca Jimenez of Denver, Colo., Mark Gutierrez of Daly City, Gabriel Navarette of Union City, Jaennika Aniag of Dinuba and Juan Chavez, a freshman who moved from Mexico to Healdsburg four years ago.

Kaiser Permanente physicians participating in the Scholar/Mentor program with Dominican are Mary Mockus, MD (Surgery), Joe Zimmerman, MD (Surgery), Mike Parnes, MD (Surgery). Jeff Cardneau, MD (Vascular Surgery),  and Jeff Fox, MD (Gastroenterology), from  the San Rafael Medical Center main campus in Terra Linda; Jessica Keane, MD (Family Practice/Adult Medicine), Ryan Lum, MD (Internal Medicine), and Ray Brow, MD (Internal Medicine) of Kaiser San Rafael Downtown and Lori Selleck, MD (Internal Medicine), Richard Christensen-Dalia, MD (Internal Medicine), John Delson, MD (Internal Medicine) and Bill Elliott, MD (Internal Medicine) of Kaiser Novato.