SMU Professor Works to "Teach Students How to Believe in Themselves"

NBC Bay Area news program features his groundbreaking program encouraging teenagers to pursue healthcare careers

By Debra Holtz 
July 22, 2013

Dr. Tomás Magaña teaches young people the skills involved in treating patients at Samuel Merritt University's state-of-the-art simulation lab during a NBC Bay Area broadcast. Dr. Magaña, a pediatrician and assistant professor/medical director in the Master Physician Assistant Program at SMU, was featured on the television station's Bay Area Proud series for his work exposing at-risk teenagers to the possibility of careers in medicine in his FACES for the Future Coalition. 

The broadcast captures how Magaña’s own childhood growing up poor in East Los Angeles, succeeding with the help of role models, and then witnessing the obstacles faced by young urban teenagers as a physician led to his creation of FACES for the Future.

The FACES Summer Medical Academy (FSMA) is a tuition-based, intensive summer experience designed to expose high school students to the fields of medicine, nursing, and allied health professions. In partnership with Samuel Merritt University, the goal of the program is to offer youth a glimpse into the array of advanced educational strategies and tools that comprise current medical training. The two-week summer program helps support the FACES academic year program that serves at-risk teenagers.

Since FACES started in Oakland 13 years ago, more than 500 kids have passed through both the two-year program and the summer program. Almost all have graduated high school and many have gone on to college. The program is now expanding to other California communities.

Watch how Dr. Magaña desires to "teach students how to believe in themselves":

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