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Medical Student Receives National Award


UCR Medical Student Honored by American Medical Association Foundation

Marizabel Orellana Recognized for Leadership in Community and Campus Service

(March 9, 2010)

UCR medical student Marizabel Orellana. Photo by Lonnie DukaEnlarge

UCR medical student Marizabel Orellana. Photo by Lonnie Duka

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu)-– Marizabel Orellana, a second-year medical student at the University of California, Riverside, was one of 20 students nationwide to be awarded the American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation’s 2010 Leadership Award.

Orellana, who traveled to Washington, D.C. to receive the award early this month, was recognized for her leadership and participation in a variety of community and campus service initiatives, including a youth mentorship project at Pomona’s Renacimiento Community Center and the Latino Medical Student Association at UCR.

Neal Schiller, associate dean of the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences, nominated Orellana for the award. “Marizabel has boundless energy. Despite the rigors of her medical studies, she constantly initiates new activities of service and engages her classmates to join her. I am convinced that Marizabel will make a profound impact, both as a physician and a community leader, in her career in medicine,” Schiller said.

“It is such an honor just to be considered for this award,” said Orellana, 34. “All the work that I do in mentorship and outreach is rewarding itself. It’s just what I enjoy doing, and to be recognized for it is very humbling. I’m honored.”

In August 2008, Orellana was admitted into the inaugural class of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA’s Program in Medical Education (PRIME), which aims to train leaders in medicine who will address policy, care and research in health care for underserved populations. PRIME is a five-year dual degree program leading to an M.D. and a master’s degree in an area such as public health, public policy, information technology or business. Orellana is one of four PRIME medical students who elected to complete their first two years of medical training at UCR in the UCR/UCLA Thomas Haider Program in Biomedical Sciences.

“At this critical time in our nation’s health system reform efforts, encouraging leadership in the medical profession is more important than ever,” Richard Hovland, president of the AMA Foundation said of the awards. “I am confident that these exceptional individuals will provide a strong voice in the medical community to improve health care delivery in the United States.”

In 2008, Orellana and fellow UCR medical students Vanessa Correa and Manpreet Singh launched the monthly Junior Interns Program at the Renacimiento Community Center in Pomona. Orellana in summer 2009 expanded it into a six-week summer program to engage youth ages 11 to 18 in leadership development activities to spark their interest in pursuing higher education and potential careers in health care. It included tours of UCR and California Polytechnic State University, Pomona, instruction in taking a person’s pulse and blood pressure, volunteer opportunities at a veterinary hospital, and a visit to the UCR Student Run Health Clinic in downtown Riverside.

Orellana also serves as a project manager and student officer for the Student Run Health Clinic. Operated by UCR first- and second-year medical students twice each month at Riverside’s First Congregational Church, the clinic provides a health care safety net to people without homes, a measure of relief to overcrowded emergency rooms, and a valuable educational experience for future doctors. Under the guidance of volunteer physicians, medical students review medical histories, perform physical examinations and discuss symptoms and treatment plans with patients.

She also initiated a mentorship project in the UCR Medical Scholars Program in which UCR medical students serve as mentors to undergraduates who are interested in pursuing careers in medicine or other allied health fields. The Medical Scholars Program is a community of students who support each other through peer mentoring and study groups, as well as academic enrichment such as research opportunities and community service activities.

Orellana, mother of a 13-year-old daughter, plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health along with her M.D. degree. Following residency training, she plans a career in family medicine or emergency medicine. “Primary care is where my heart is, but I also like the acute care setting,” she said.



UCR medical student Marizabel Orellana receives the Medical Student Leadership Award from J. James Rohack, M.D., president of the American Medical Association. Also pictured, from left to right, are Richard Hovland, AMA Foundation president, and Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc.Enlarge

UCR medical student Marizabel Orellana receives the Medical Student Leadership Award from J. James Rohack, M.D., president of the American Medical Association. Also pictured, from left to right, are Richard Hovland, AMA Foundation president, and Freda Lewis-Hall, M.D., chief medical officer of Pfizer Inc.

The University of California, Riverside (www.ucr.edu) is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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