Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom

Scholarships Help Fund Future Doctors’ Education

Front row (l. to r.): Alan McKay, The Alliance; Kaitlin Russon, award recipient; Barry Bowman, UCSC. Back row (l. to r.): Richard Nichols, SMSC; Larry deGhetaldi, M.D., PAMF Santa Cruz Division.

With our country’s aging population and the continued rise in chronic diseases, ensuring there are enough doctors to take care of our increasingly complex health needs is a daunting challenge. The Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and PAMF’s Santa Cruz health care partner Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC), both Sutter Health affiliates, are helping to meet this critical need by awarding annual scholarships to deserving students who are committed to becoming doctors.

PAMF Physicians Award Scholarships for Almost 20 Years

Since 1993, PAMF physicians have awarded scholarships to outstanding local high school students to help pay for their undergraduate studies. This year’s scholarship winners are:

  • Sophie Ballard from Santa Cruz High School, who will attend University of California, Berkeley
  • Jeffrey Chen from Irvington High School in Fremont, who will be in the Physician – Scientist Program through Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy and Albany Medical Center in Albany, both in New  York
  • Stephanie Kong from St. Francis High School in Mountain View, who will go to University of California, Los Angeles

    Sophie Ballard

The Palo Alto Medical Group (PAFMG) Pre-Medical Scholarship is funded by our physicians and provides $5,000 a year (a total of $20,000 per recipient) to deserving students who attend a four-year college and plan to pursue careers as doctors. Unlike most other scholarships, which award a one-time sum, the PAFMG scholarship repeats for all four years of college.


Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Awards Primary Care Doctor Scholarship

Since 2007, Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC) together with the Central California Alliance for Health (The Alliance) have awarded a $10,000 scholarship to pay the medical fees of a University of California, Santa Cruz health sciences graduate, who is dedicated to returning to the Central Coast of California community and working as a primary care doctor.
“Becoming a primary care doctor will allow me to integrate my passion for health with my genuine care for people,” says Kaitlin Russon, this year’s scholarship recipient. “I feel that health care is something everyone should have access to, and our primary challenge is to make that happen.”

Kaitlin Russon

During her time at college, Russon used her Spanish skills to work with families at the Walnut Avenue Women’s Center in Santa Cruz, sang for hospice patients, mentored children in the California Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement (MESA) Program for educationally disadvantaged children and interned with primary care doctors.