By middle school, LaBrittany Ware knew she wanted a career in medicine, but never would have guessed the opportunity for hands-on experience would arrive so soon. Now 17 years old, the junior from urban South Sacramento already has practiced administering CPR and drawing blood, thanks to an award-winning partnership between Sacramento High School's School of Health Sciences and UC Davis Health System.
A lot of hard work and high school and college degrees away from seeing patients of the flesh and blood variety, LaBrittany is practicing real medical procedures, under the mentorship of medical students, on state-of-the-art patient simulators at the UC Davis' Center for Virtual Care.
"The simulators teach me a lot of new things and show me what I might encounter in my job," said LaBrittany. "I look forward to my time with them, because I have found it so valuable."
Outreach efforts to high schoolers like LaBrittany contributed to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) honoring the health system with its national Outstanding Community Service Award for 2005.
The prestigious award recognizes exceptional community service programs that go beyond the typical role of academic medicine to reach communities whose needs are not met by traditional health-care delivery systems.
"Community engagement is integral to everything we do," said Claire Pomeroy, UC Davis vice chancellor for Human Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine. "Because we have such outstanding partnerships in the community, we are better able to accomplish our teaching, research and patient-care missions." In addition to its Sacramento High School program, UC Davis Sacramento High School students practice medical techniques on a child-sized patient simulator. was honored for a more than a dozen programs that address the needs of underserved citizens in the Sacramento region, including: