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UArizona early grad to help fight COVID-19 pandemic in Michigan

Posted at 6:02 PM, Apr 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-20 10:05:08-04

TUCSON, Ariz. - Dr. Ricardo Ayala was suppose to graduate from the University of Arizona's College of Medicine in May, but last month the U of A announced they'd be giving their medical students wo were eligible the chance to graduate early to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

There were 119 students throughout the College of Medicine eligible to graduate early, however only 10 students ended up volunteering to do so.

Among those 10 students was Dr. Ayala.

“With expediting graduation, the back bone behind that is really a sense of duty," he said.

The 10 students officially graduated on Monday, April 13, nearly a month before their originally scheduled graduation on May 14.

"Getting the medical degree early allows me to move things forward, get the ball rolling, if you will, and make myself officially a practicing physician where I can seek out opportunities to possibly get in the front lines ahead of time," said Dr. Ayala.

Now that he has his degree and his title, Dr. Ayala is scheduled to head to Detroit, Michigan to complete his residency. Dr. Ayala told KGUN9 the chances he will have to help patients with COVID-19, are high.

“There’s a lot of need right now especially in certain vulnerable areas. Specifically in Detroit, that’s where I’m assigned my residency and I just felt it as a duty to start early if the need arises," he said.