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  • Want to learn more about our fellows and their work? Check out our Fellows page here.

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Welcome to PROF-PATH

PROF-PATH is a research and academic career development program for health professions students funded by the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities. We train UCSF students from underrepresented in medicine (UIM) backgrounds regardless of research area focus, and students interested in health disparities research regardless of background.

PROF-PATH provides funding, classes, mentorship, community and opportunities for training for students from all four UCSF professional schools. Our goal is to help you make the most of the rich research and academic career development opportunities available at UCSF!

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PROF-PATH Program Report

The PROF-PATH program report provides an overview of the program's exciting achievements over the past five years. Click here to read the report!

Congratulations to Maria!

PROF-PATH congratulates our 2016-17 yearlong fellow, Maria Patanwala, on her 2017 Society of General Internal Medicine Award for Best Aging/Geriatrics/End-of-Life Poster Presentation! Congratulations, Maria! Lear more about Maria and her project here

Featuring PROF-PATH Pathways Explore Summer Fellow Christen Dillard

Project Title: Second Opinions and the Treatment Gradient Experienced by African American Breast Cancer Patients

Mentor: Dr. Rena Pasick

Project Description: African American women experience an excess burden of breast cancer mortality. Cancer is the second leading cause of death among African Americans, with breast cancer in particular being the most common cancer in African American women. This increased mortality occurs despite a lower incidence rate of breast cancer in African Americans compared with other populations. A growing body of research points to differences in quality of treatment as a major determinant of this disparity. This summer, I will be assisting with the development and implementation of a second opinion protocol in which newly diagnosed low-income African American women with breast cancer can receive second opinion consultations at UCSF free of charge. Through analysis of patient consultations and follow-up interviews, we aim to determine the value and the immediate and longer-term impact of a breast cancer treatment plan second-opinion consultation.

Through my involvement in this project, I anticipate that I will learn a great deal about practice-oriented research. The most exciting aspect of this project for me is that it will provide me with the opportunity to help combat cancer disparities by directly influencing patients’ prospects for receiving the most appropriate treatment, that enable their participation in clinical research, and that offer them genetic counseling for hereditary breast cancer. Further, as a student interested in cancer research and treatment, I am looking forward to getting more exposure to the field of oncology and mentorship from researchers and physicians.

Read more about the PROF-PATH Summer Fellows


Featuring PROF-PATH Yearlong Fellow David Ramirez


Project Title: Eye Health Among Farm Workers in California

Mentor(s): Dr. Jeremy Keenan

Pathway: Health & Society

Project Description: ​Limited data exist describing the burden of eye disease in United States farm workers. The prevalence of eye injury has been examined by the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP), with roughly 636,000 ED visits related to eye injuries in 2008 alone. Several cross-sectional studies have investigated the burden of eye disease specifically among farm workers as well; in the 1999 California Agricultural Workers Health Survey, at least 21% of workers reported eye irritation, and at least 10% of workers reported blurry or clouded vision as a result of hired farm work.

In general, the magnitude of eye disease and the specific causes of eye trauma among farm workers have not been well studied, with only a handful of papers reporting prevalence and mechanism of injury. Our study aims to examine whether individuals working in agricultural jobs have an increased risk of eye injury, and specifically, which risk factors are the most salient predictors of eye trauma among farm workers. If we find a high prevalence of eye trauma, our hope is that this research will identify clear risk factors, eventually leading to interventions to prevent eye trauma among this group.

This project is perfectly in line with my goals for my PROF-PATH Yearlong Fellowship project: working with an underserved, primarily Spanish-speaking community and having the primary role in overseeing my study develop from beginning to end. With this work, and with excellent mentorship, I will gain incredible experience in directing clinical research. While I understand becoming an expert researcher takes many years of trial and experience, this project will give me the skills I need for the beginning of a career in clinical research with underserved communities.

Read more about the PROF-PATH Yearlong Fellows