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UC Davis Medicine - Logo
The institution's principal publication for alumni, friends and physicians.
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  A L U M N I  
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ALUMNI
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ALUMNA DRIVEN TO BE PART OF THE SOLUTION

"" PHOTO - "I received so much from UC Davis, and I wouldn't be in my current position without that opportunity and experience." — Jessica Núñez de Ybarra.
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"I received so much from UC Davis, and I wouldn't be in my current position without that opportunity and experience."
—Jessica Núñez de Ybarra.
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As a precocious third grader, Jessica Núñez de Ybarra boldly announced to her teacher one day that she intended to become a physician.

As one of the youngest of eight children growing up in a loving family in Camarillo, Calif., her parents instilled in her the values of hard work, team effort and service to her community. When she was in high school and her mother's health declined from diabetes and breast cancer, her family grew closer and her desire to pursue her chosen vocation grew stronger.

"That experience gave me a respect for life and for health," she recalls. "As I grew up and continued my path to my medical career, I wanted to answer the bigger questions: Why did my mother have cancer and why was her health so impacted? Was there a way through education or intervention that I could prevent this tragedy from occurring in other families?"

Awareness of disparities

That keen awareness of disparities in opportunities and access to health care and education among minority populations motivated the 1997 UC Davis alumna throughout her medical education and training.

As a first-year student at UC Davis School of Medicine in 1993, Núñez de Ybarra recalls an unpleasant crosscultural interaction involving fellow medical students. She met with the dean and with the help of her peers and the school's Office of Minority Affairs subsequently organized a diversity-training project for increasing cultural awareness that was adopted and used for all first and second-year medical students.

She also started a peer-group tutoring program in physiology and was one of the primary leaders in the Latino Medical Student Association.

Today, after earning a master's in public health, she is a public health medical officer with the California Department of Health Services, Division of Communicable Disease Control, where she assists Division Programs and local public health departments with disaster preparedness and training activities. She also devotes her energy to prevention programs in infectious diseases, including planning for pandemic influenza.

Encouraging others

Núñez de Ybarra is passionate about encouraging underrepresented ethnic minorities to pursue careers in medicine and public health and helped procure $2.5 million from the state budget for training public health laboratory directors, with some of that money earmarked for targeting minorities to pursue this career.

PHOTO — As a public health officer with the California Department of Health Services, Division of Communicable Disease Control, Jessica Núñez de Ybarra, second from right, and her colleagues, from left, Francisco Michel, Kathleen Santos and Patricia Quinn work with local public health departments on disaster preparedness and training activities, as well as prevention programs in infectious diseases. ""

As a public health officer with the California Department of Health Services, Division of Communicable Disease Control, Jessica Núñez de Ybarra, second from right, and her colleagues, from left, Francisco Michel, Kathleen Santos and Patricia Quinn work with local public health departments on disaster preparedness and training activities, as well as prevention programs in infectious diseases.
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"Encouraging minority involvement actually enhances public health," she says. "People who come from underrepresented communities with few resources are more likely than others to be more satisfied – and effective – in a public health career."

All the while she gives back to UC Davis. In conjunction with members of a local California Latino Medical Association Chapter, she is leading discussions with the School of Medicine on how to increase the recruitment of and mentor underrepresented minority students and to increase the number of faculty members who are ethnic minorities. In addition, she is a volunteer clinical faculty member in the School of Medicine's Department of Public Health Sciences, and a visiting lecturer in a class on Latino health issues in the UC Davis Chicana/o Studies Program.

Tireless advocate

Núñez de Ybarra is "highly respected in the medical and academic communities and known as a passionate leader, role model, tireless advocate and outstanding physician," says Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola, UC Davis professor of internal medicine and director of the Center for Reducing Health Disparities at the School of Medicine.

"I received so much from UC Davis, and I wouldn't be in my current position without that opportunity and experience," Núñez de Ybarra says. "I'll always be motivated by a desire to give back, to work to be part of the solution. That comes from my mother and father, who taught us to be strong enough to do what's right, because in the end that's what's most important. And besides, Public Health is very rewarding because it is interested in social justice. Thankfully, my husband Steve and my family and friends share my passion and commitment to improving the health of the community."

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  UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE ALUMNI ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF DIRECTORS 2005–2007

Denise Satterfield , M.D., '87
UC Davis Medical Center '91 President

Jamie McManus, M.D., '79
UC Davis Medical Center '82 Vice President

Michael Carl, M.D., '92

Jamie Cobb, M.D., '93
UC Davis Medical Center '96

Jerald Gerst, M.D., M.P.H., '73

Joseph Hartzog, M.D.,
UC Davis Medical Center, '76

Nancy Ree Joye, M.D.,
UC Davis Medical Center, '78

Steven Kelly-Reif, M.D.,
UC Davis Medical Center, '85

J. Natasha Laubly, M.D.,
UC Davis Medical Center, '94

Michael Lucien, M.D., M.P.H., '92

Patricia McNeill, M.D., Ph.D., '84
UC Davis Medical Center '87

Robert B. Miller, M.D., '82
UC Davis Medical Center '86

Eugene Ogrood, M.D., J.D.
UC Davis Medical Center '74

Mark Song, M.D.,'76

Timothy Takagi, M.D.,'86

EX OFFICIO MEMBERS

Mark C. Henderson
Associate Dean, Admissions and Outreach

Stephanie Bray
Assistant Dean, Health Sciences Advancement

Patrick Browning, M.D., '89

William McGowan
Chief Financial Officer

Thomas Nesbitt, M.D., M.P.H., '79 Executive Associate Dean, Administration and Clinical Outreach

Claire Pomery, M.D., M.B.A. Vice Chancellor, Human Health Sciences and Dean, School of Medicine

Praveen Prasad, M.D., '78

Ben A. Rich, JD, Ph.D.
Bioethics, UC Davis Medical Center

 
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UC DAVIS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
PUBLIC AFFAIRS
4900 Broadway, Suite #1200
Sacramento, CA 95820

ucdavismedicine@ucdmc.ucdavis.edu

© 2007 UC Regents. All rights reserved.

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