Dr. Sandra Paniagua of Kaiser Riverside Pediatrics joined the UCR School of Medicine in 2018 after an SOM student spent an afternoon with Dr. Paniagua during UCR's Kaiser Summer Externship program, and approached her with the opportunity of becoming a LACE preceptor. She had never heard of the program, and after the program was described to her as the chance for medical students to get early clinical experience in a primary care setting she did what others often do when faced with a decision: thought about it first. She requested information from our LACE program directors to make a well-informed decision, then jumped at the opportunity to teach with enthusiasm.
From the day that the UCR SOM professional relationship began, UCR has had the utmost respect for Dr. Paniagua not just because she is a fellow human being, but also because her polished professionalism and genuine inquisitiveness invokes it.
Dr. Paniagua's approach with patients is consistent with this. She very quickly taught students two guiding principles for their future career in pediatrics: reassurance of a concerned parent paired with careful, thorough workup of each child. "If you treat every patient like they are your own child, you'll never go wrong." Medicine is a career that is personal. Nowhere else does a complete stranger trust you to examine them with a touch, let alone their child, and Dr. Paniagua displays this weight of accountability to patients and their families each session.
In addition, Dr. Paniagua has involved students in her own mentorship program, "Kaiser's Hippocrates Circle," composed of middle schoolers interested in medicine which 18 med students were able to host with coordination from Dean Emma Simmons. This event energized our students, strengthened the school's relationship with Kaiser physicians, and had an impact on the local community which may include future physicians of the IE. The volume of clinical exposure, academic office discussion of cases, and opportunities for clinical skills and bedside manner practice that occur at each session compose the LACE experience which aids in the education of our students.
By KA Aguilar
Clinical Affiliate Relationship Manager, Undergrad Medical Education