Alicia Fernandez receives grant to establish UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence

Talmadge King Alicia Fernandez
Dr. Talmadge E. King, Jr., dean of the UCSF School of Medicine, and Dr. Alicia Fernández, Professor of Medicine, UCSF

The UCSF School of Medicine (SOM) is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) recently awarded Dr. Alicia Fernández a four-year grant to create a UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence (LCOE). The UCSF LCOE is jointly funded through HRSA and UCSF and will be housed within the UCSF SOM, with close affiliation with the Center for Vulnerable Populations (CVP) at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and Trauma Center (ZSFG).

Dr. Fernández is the Director of the CVP Program in Latinx and Immigrant Health, a Professor of Medicine at UCSF, and a general internist at ZSFG, where she practices primary care medicine and attends on the medical wards. She directs UCSF PROF-PATH, an academic career and research training program for underrepresented minority (URM) students and students focused on health disparities research; is co-PI of RISE, a national training program in implementation science for URM faculty; and co-Investigator of SF BUILD, a joint capacity building program between UCSF and San Francisco State University.                       

“Latinos are California’s largest ethnic group at nearly 40% of the population, so California’s health is increasingly tied to the health of the state’s Latino population,” said Dr. Fernández. “This center will build on UCSF’s existing underrepresented minority programs by significantly enhancing its academic infrastructure to train Latino physicians and physician-scientists.”

The UCSF LCOE will aim to:

  • Partner with Hispanic Serving Institutions in San Francisco and in Fresno to increase the number of students competitive for medical school admissions and enhance UCSF matriculation rate sufficiently to increase the number of Latinx students at UCSF;
  • Create a leadership enrichment summer program to enhance Latinx/URM medical student ability to compete for highly competitive residency programs and double the proportion of Latinx residents at UCSF;
  • Double the proportion of Latinx faculty through the creation of (a) an academic career program that will target Latinx/other URM residents, our largest source of faculty, and (b) a faculty academic development program that will enhance our ability to recruit and promote Latinx/URM faculty;
  • Review and revise SOM curriculum to ensure key competencies in care of Latinx patients are taught and assessed;
  • Expand a highly successful research program for UCSF Latinx/URM medical students and undertake activities that will expand Latinx population-oriented research at UCSF; and
  • Expand off-campus clinical training with highly vulnerable Latinx patients for Latinx and non-Latinx medical students.

The UCSF SOM produces physician leaders in clinical care, research, and medical education and has a long-standing commitment to diversity. “The new UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence will enhance our ongoing efforts to increase diversity and heighten awareness of research that can impact the health of underserved populations,” said SOM Dean, Talmadge E. King, Jr. “This project will have far-reaching implications, impacting approximately 1,500 Latino premeds, 625 Latino and non-Latino medical students, and 100 faculty per year. Dr. Fernández is the perfect leader for the LCOE, given her long-standing work in the space of health equity and active mentorship of students, residents, fellows, and faculty.”