Pre-med students selected for 2013 Scholars/Mentors program

Sixteen pre-med students gained insight into life as a physician as they spent 2013 shadowing and learning from Kaiser Permanente Medical Group physicians. The students were selected to join the Kaiser Permanente Scholars and Mentors Program, which since 2009 has paired Dominican students with mentor physicians.

The students met their Kaiser mentors on October 2, 2013 during a reception dinner on the Dominican campus. They spent the remainder of the first semester observing emergency room procedures in four-hour shifts at Kaiser. During the second semester, they shadowed doctors who specialize in specific fields of medicine.

The program is led by Dr. Randall Hall, chair of Dominican’s Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Dr. Lori Selleck, and APIC of Health Promotion at the Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, and Teri Rockas, Kaiser’s Project Manager in Health Promotions. The Scholars/Mentors program is designed to educate and excite students who are planning to enter medical school after graduation.

The Dominican-Kaiser Scholars/Mentors program was born in 2009 when Kaiser collaborated with the University and physicians were identified to serve as mentors. Dominican selected 12 students to work with physicians from the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center. Among those dozen students were Stephanie Huezo and Mark Gutierrez, who became graduate students in Dominican’s Master of Science Biological Sciences program, and Gabriel Navarrette, who went on to attend medical school at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.

“That was the first ‘real’ experience of clinical work that a lot of us in the program received,” said Navarrette, whose goal was to be a primary care physician. “Chances are that you've had some sort of experience seeing a primary care physician, but it's something completely different to see the encounter from the other side. It's sort of a surprising feeling to realize that doctors are normal people, too, outside of your appointments, and it really helps to show that it's possible for you, as a student, to be the one in chair and asking the questions.”

That was Jordan Rode’s experience in 2012 The Dominican senior participated in the Scholars/Mentors program and found it to be invaluable.

“I matured very quickly into a professional who was able to speak with peers in the program about everything from medical school to specific medical procedures,” said Rode, a Biological Sciences major who plans to attend medical school in 2016 with the goal of becoming an orthopedic surgeon. “The program provided a window to look behind the curtain of medical professionals.”

Rode shadowed three Kaiser Physicians in three different fields: primary care, orthopedic surgery, and anesthesiology. He witnessed several surgeries and saw how the doctors interacted with patients both before and after surgery.

“It was really a growing experience in the sense that I was in the workplace that I wanted to be a part of in the future,” Rode said. “After Dominican, I planned to complete a ‘Doctor's Without Borders’ or similar program to put my skills to good use before settling in here in the United States.”

The Class of 2013 Dominican-Kaiser Scholars/Mentors students were Jillian Nunes, Victoria Pena, Elizabeth Rice, Serafina Tulioc, Ashley Cotter, Matthew Erbst, Rachael deVries, Isabel Ranger, Mckenna Kimball, Matt Hayes, Hannah Agren, Julia Hyry, Connor Haysbert, Anthony Mendoza, Josef Baylis and See Yang. They were paired with their Kaiser physicians and awarded white laboratory coats at the program’s kickoff dinner ceremony on October 2.