Public lecture Thursday on disease prevention
The Yuma Friends of the University of Arizona, Arizona Health Sciences Center, will host a public lecture about how to prevent obesity, diabetes and heart disease Thursday evening.
Dr. Randa Kutob, M.D., will provide the lecture, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Yuma Regional Medical Center Corporate Center, 393 W. 32nd S. The event is free to the public.
Kutob practices family-oriented, patient-centered care. Her research at the UA, sponsored by the Yuma Friends, includes cross-cultural medicine, chronic disease management and health disparities.
“One cannot change their genetics; however, personal life choices can greatly alter one's health risks,” said Melinda Graham, chairwoman of Yuma Friends of the University of Arizona, AHSC.
“Find out what you can do to decrease your risk for heart disease and diabetes — diseases that can greatly decrease your lifestyle and life expectancy.”
The Yuma Friends is a 501-C3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the support of optimal healthy living in the Yuma community by promoting health-related education and career opportunities. The group also provides funds for research and scholarship in health sciences.
The nonprofit works in partnership with UA alumni, medical professionals, educational professionals and other Yuma groups. It was founded in the mid-1980s by Roy Young, a longtime Yuma citizen, and a small group of his friends and colleagues.
“Their goal was to give the Yuma community greater access to the expertise of the University of Arizona and University of Arizona Health Network in Tucson,” Graham said. “This relationship has been prospering ever since.”
The nonprofit currently has about 12 board members and 60 other members, and raises funding through “an annual commitment made by each of the members of the Friends,” Graham explained.
“Additionally the generosity of the group also results in direct contributions to specific areas of interest, such as research in the areas of cardiovascular disease, arthritis, nursing and cancer.”
Since its founding, the nonprofit has awarded the Yuma Young Investigator Award to more than 49 researchers. “These grants have provided critical resources to young researchers whose novel and innovative work hold great promise in helping advance medical science and practice,” Graham said.
Since its inception, the nonprofit has evolved to meet the needs of the Yuma community, Graham continued.
“Our commitment to funding budding investigators at the University of Arizona has not changed, nor our work to bring the expertise of the university to Yuma. But we have broadened our scope.”
Research “is our best weapon against disease and hope for a healthier future,” Graham added. “The research awards funded by the Yuma Friends help young investigators gather preliminary data so that they can then be competitive for national funding.”
The research improves the quality of life in the Yuma community, Graham said.
“By bringing those who are steeped in the most recent research and performing cutting-edge patient care, we help to empower the residents of Yuma with information that can help them in their own health care choices.”
The Yuma Friends also provides area students access to information regarding health careers in medicine, nursing, pharmacy and public health by hosting a health sciences day in the fall for high school students and a one-week pharmacy day camp in the summer for 25 junior high students who are part of the Gowan Achievement Program.
The Yuma Friends has also created a health sciences mentorship program giving high school and college students an opportunity to obtain information on a one-on-one basis with a professional in the health science field that they are considering. They are also given an opportunity to shadow professionals in this field.
“By engaging the high school and college students of our community, we are helping to create the next generation of scientists and physicians,” Graham said.
“We hope that students from Yuma who get a degree in the health science fields will come back to Yuma after they finish their education.”
For more information about the Yuma Friends, send an email to UofAYumaFriends@roadrunner.com. To contribute to the group's fundraising efforts, visit www.medicine.arizona.edu/giving.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.