Sunnyside Unified High School students to get a taste for a future in medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson

May 1, 2023

The College of Medicine – Tucson will host high school students with the aim to engage and empower the community through education and health initiatives.

  • What: Sunnyside Unified School District Outreach Day
  • When: Thursday, May 4, 8 a.m. - 3 p.m.
  • Where: University of Arizona Health Health Sciences Innovation Building, 1670 E. Drachman St., Tucson

The University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson will host local high school students for Sunnyside Unified School District Outreach Day on May 4. The event will be held on the University of Arizona Health Sciences campus, and media are welcome to cover the event.

Thirty-five high school students from Sunnyside High School and Desert View High School, both part of SUSD, will participate in the day’s activities, which aim to engage and empower the community through education and health initiatives, in line with the college’s commitment to making the community a stakeholder in education and health and efforts to attract more local youth to careers in medicine and research.

The event will feature several activities aimed at early guidance and preparation of Tucson’s southside students to become competitive college and medical school applicants, including a conversation with Lourdes Castañón, MD, FACS, clinical associate professor of surgery and director of the Burn Program at Banner – University Medical Center Tucson; a presentation followed by an examination of a sheep’s heart led by Sunnyside High School alum Jared Alvarado of the Willed Body Program; and hands-on experience in the Arizona Simulation Technology and Education Center, where students will participate in an interactive tour, experience the virtual cadaver table, be introduced to airway management skills, and practice CPR on a stimulation manikin that talks, breathes and has a pulse.

The outreach event was organized by two first-year College of Medicine – Tucson students and Tucson natives, Czarina Retana, a Sunnyside High School graduate, and R. David Contreras, MPH.

“Outreach events and programs gave me experiences and relationships that helped me navigate through higher education and ultimately guided me to medicine,” Retana said. “I hope to help the next generation gain the knowledge and confidence to thrive here at the University of Arizona as other incredible people in my past helped me.”

“My hope is to help SUSD students see the opportunities that are available to them after high school, and to inspire bright minds from my hometown to pursue higher education,” added Contreras.

Interviews with students, participants, or event organizers can be arranged.


David Bruzzese
College of Medicine — Tucson

Anna C. Christensen
College of Medicine — Tucson