PALM DESERT, Calif. The H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation is funding an innovative scholarship program that aims to bring back a Coachella Valley high school graduate as one of the area's trained physicians. The gift to the University of California, Riverside School of Medicine was awarded as a mission-based scholarship to incoming medical student Jay Thetford, a resident of Cathedral City, who intends to practice medicine in the Coachella Valley.
"A key strategy for keeping UCR-educated physicians in our region is helping students alleviate the cost of medical school through these mission-based scholarships," said G. Richard Olds, UCR vice chancellor of health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine. "We are grateful for the Berger Foundation's gift, which will help a very promising medical student from the Coachella Valley fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor."
Thetford, who is beginning medical school at UC Riverside this month, said he is interested in practicing in a primary care specialty in the Coachella Valley following medical school and residency training. "I see the Coachella Valley as an excellent place to practice medicine, not only because of my personal connection having grown up there, but also because I am driven by expanding the human right to health and improving care for vulnerable populations," he said.
A graduate of Cathedral City High School and UC Berkeley with a major in molecular biology and a minor in global poverty and practice, Thetford said his experience in the medical school's Future Physician Leaders program and at UC Berkeley "amplified" his commitment to serve underserved patient populations. Many areas of the Coachella Valley have severe physician shortages. For instance, the Coachella Valley Healthcare
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University of California - Riverside