Amber Ali and Emmanuel Ho are both part of the largest cohort yet of osteopathic medical students at California Health Sciences University. Photo contributed

published on July 26, 2022 - 3:47 PM
Written by Breanna Hardy

California Health Sciences University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine has welcomed its largest cohort of students to date during a time when the Central Valley is in dire need of physicians. 

Dr. John Graneto, dean of California Health Sciences University, hopes the class of 2026 will bolster the influx of physicians to the Central Valley. 

This year’s cohort has 161 students, bringing a total of 350 students onto the Clovis campus. 

There were 4,000 applicants for a spot at the college. California has 16 medical schools, but the graduates from these schools are not nearly enough to meet the demand for physicians in the state, Graneto said. 

“We’re excited to be part of reversing that problem,” Graneto said. 

About 30% of the students enrolled in this cohort of students are from the Central Valley. 

CHSU offers a course called health systems science that educates students about the health disparity in the Central Valley so that students who are not from the Valley have an understanding of the population should they stay to practice.

“In the biggest, richest, affluent state in the United States, we have some of the poorest health outcomes in the Central Valley, and much of that is due to lack of access to a doctor,” he said.

The course teaches students about the cultural nuances, socioeconomic barriers to health care and prevalent health problems in the Central Valley. CHSU requires students to take medical Spanish in order to make health care more accessible.

Emmanuel Ho and Amber Ali are both students pursuing careers as physicians. Their own personal experiences have driven them to pursue medicine.

Ho was inspired by the care he received when he was serving in the military. He suffered several injuries.

“I ended up getting surgery and that was really kind of like the impetus for driving my desire to become a physician,” Ho said.

The care he received made a huge positive impact on his life, he said. 

“I served the country for a few years so the big thing for me was I would like to bring that same type of service to other people, to other communities,” Ho said.

Ali, however, wants to be a solution to the medical field after having a poor experience with her own doctors. She encountered several health issues throughout her teen years, which never got a firm diagnosis.

At the time, her pediatricians brushed off the pain she was experiencing. 

“I didn’t get the care that I should’ve gotten,” she said.

She passed her Medical College Admission Test, and her decision to pursue medicine was further solidified after her late mother was diagnosed with stage three ovarian cancer, but the original oncology team didn’t figure out what type of cancer it was.

“The oncology team that she was seeing just almost gave up on her. They were just like, ‘Well okay, I don’t think this chemo’s working. Maybe we should try hospice,’” Ali said.

After switching to a new oncologist, the team tried its best to save her life, maximizing treatment avenues. And although Ali’s mother died a few months ago, Ali was inspired by the care of her mother’s new doctor. 

Though Ho and Ali are from out of the area, they both want to improve the physician disparity in the area. 

“Getting more doctors from the Valley or training here in the Valley or staying here to practice is what we’re all about,” Graneto said.


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