Recent Successes from UCSF-CTSI Key Diversity Initiatives

By Paul Day, UCSF Office of Diversity and Outreach

The Office of Diversity and Outreach at UC San Francisco along with the its Clinical & Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Career Development Program have supported a number of key diversity initiatives aimed at nurturing the pipeline in medicine and academia. One such diversity initiative, the Visiting Elective Scholarship Program (VESP) is enjoying some recent successes.

Led by René Salazar, MD, director, Diversity, UCSF Office of Graduate Medical Education, VESP was established to encourage fourth year medical students who are underrepresented in medicine or interested in conducting research with diverse populations to expand their knowledge base of clinical and translational research and promote interest in applying to an academic training program by completing a clinical elective.

Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD

Clinical electives are four weeks in length and participants are provided mentoring and financial support from the program to complete their research. Each participant is assigned a faculty advisor and is provided opportunities to network with CTSI and UCSF faculty, housestaff and students. The program is currently supported by the department of medicine’s Residency Diversity Committee, CTSI Career Development, department of emergency medicine and the department of anesthesiology. Outreach efforts by Dr. Salazar and VESP are currently underway to include more departments.

In order to maintain excellence in research, patient care and education, we need to have a diverse set of voices at the table.

Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD


While internal support is provided to participants, the program thrives with partnerships from external organizations such as the Physicians Medical Forum (PMF). PMF has provided funds to support 2-3 scholarships for African-American students in the program. The Forum has had a long standing partnership with UCSF and encourages the recruitment and retention of African-American physicians in the Bay Area helping to eliminate health disparities and improve access to care. UCSF has a strong presence on the Forum’s board with Renee Navarro, MD, PharmD, vice chancellor, Diversity and Outreach, being its newest member.

VESP has seen recent success with one of its past participants, Sarah Schaeffer.  Sarah completed her medical training at UCSF while participating in VESP. In addition to medical training, Schaeffer received support in pursuing research activities, which currently include the study of arterial degeneration. Upon graduation Sarah was accepted into the internal medicine residency program at UCSF and has recently been selected as a Chief Resident at the UCSF Medical Center (Moffitt-Long Hospital) for the 2014-15 academic year.

The success of programs such as VESP continues to show the commitment of UCSF, CTSI and the Chancellor on attracting diverse top-tier talent in academia. The Office of Diversity and Outreach enjoys a fruitful relationship with CTSI and is encouraged by the interest and success rate of initiatives such as VESP.

For more information, contact Angela Rizk-Jackson, PhD, Career Development Program Mananger at CTSI.

Related news "UCSF Recent & Ongoing Diversity Initiatives"

UCSF's CTSI is a member of the Clinical and Translational Science Awards network funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (Grant #UL1 TR000004) at the NIH. Under the banner of "Accelerating Research to Improve Health," CTSI provides a wide range of resources and services for researchers, and promotes online collaboration and networking tools such as UCSF Profiles.