June 2, 2006

UCSD Health Sciences Students to Play Key Role in City Heights International Village Celebration

Students from UCSD’s Healthcare Opportunities, Preparation and Empowerment (HOPE) Program will join other community outreach partners in playing key roles in the 14th Annual International Village Celebration on June 3in San Diego’s City Heights area.

Sponsored by the City Heights Community Development Corporation, this free annual event is intended to celebrate the diversity and cultures of City Heights — a community of more than 90,00 residents representing more than 30 languages and dialects – through music, food and dance, while educating and informing visitors on health concerns affecting ethnic populations, employment opportunities, college/career preparation and other topics.

“HOPE is especially proud to participate in this year’s celebration due to the fact that our health sciences students played a pivotal role in arranging for health screenings to be offered for the first time at the event,” says Adele Wilson, coordinator of UCSD’s Health and Medical Professions Preparation Program, which administers HOPE. HOPE students arranged for blood pressure and diabetes screenings to be provided by registered nurses from the community, she says.

At the all-day event, HOPE students will also educate youngsters and other visitors on human anatomy through interactive, hands-on games and other visuals. In addition, HOPE will inform college-bound students on academic preparation needed for careers in medicine and the sciences, and disseminate literature on cancer, diabetes, heart disease and other conditions affecting ethnic minority communities.

“Participation in an event such as this gives us a chance to speak and interact directly with the community on health concerns, and inform other students on how they can enter related careers to help the community,” says Francois Webster, a HOPE and pre-med student at UCSD majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology. At the event he will be joined by other key HOPE students who organized and coordinated HOPE’s presence at the festival, including Kathleen Antolin, a pre-med student majoring in Human Biology; Chuong Dang, a pre-med/Ph.D. program student majoring in General Biology, and Jack Yacoo, a pre-med student majoring in Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

“All of us at HOPE are looking forward to future opportunities to serve the community through events like this,” says Antolin.

This year’s festival, to be held on University Avenue from Fairmount to Euclid, is expected to draw more than 75,000 visitors.

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