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Here’s How to Get an Early Start on Medical Careers: Doctors Academy



Doctors Academy students in 2019 at Sunnyside High School. (GV Wire File)
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Eighth graders who are interested in medical careers can apply to enter Doctors Academy programs at Sunnyside and Caruthers high schools through the UCSF Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research.

The application period will open Oct. 1 and close Dec. 1.

Informational meetings for students and parents will be held at Caruthers High School Media Center, 2580 W. Tahoe Ave., Caruthers, from 6 to 7 p.m. Oct. 10 and at the Sunnyside High School Library, 1019 S. Peach Ave., Fresno, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Oct. 19 and Nov. 2.

Participants will learn about Doctors Academy admission requirements, program expectations, and how to apply.

The online application is available at

Coming Home

Dr. Tia Vang

The Doctors Academy programs are realizing one of the programs’ goals of preparing local students to become doctors and return to the Valley to practice medicine. Dr. Tia Vang, a graduate of the Doctors Academy at Sunnyside, went to college at UC Berkeley and received her medical degree from the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Vang is now a UCSF assistant clinical professor at UCSF Fresno.

In a Q&A published in UCSF-Fresno’s summer newsletter, Vang talked about how the Doctors Academy gave her exposure to health care careers and also helped her learn about health disparities in Fresno County.

“It also enhanced my experience with a rigorous academic curriculum, which shaped me into a competitive college applicant,” Yang said. “The Doctors Academy strongly influenced my perspectives and growth as a high school student and helped to pave the way for my career in medicine.”

Yang, who practices primary care internal medicine in Fresno, said her goals include being a mentor to medical residents and students, and collaborating with organizations that focus on addressing health disparities and improving health outcomes in the Valley.

More Information

For more details about the Caruthers program, applicants can contact Karina Reyes Banuelos, academic program coordinator, at Sunnyside applicants can contact Paula Peterson, academic program coordinator, at

Students interested in applying to the Caruthers Doctors Academy program who live outside the Caruthers Unified School District will be required to obtain an inter-district transfer approval. The Sunnyside program is open only to eighth graders in Fresno Unified, who must submit a transfer form to the district’s transfer office by Dec. 1.

More information about the UCSF Fresno Junior Doctors Academy middle school program will be released in early spring 2023 at

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email