UArizona Tucson Med Students Awarded Free Tuition

Thursday, January 30, 2020

The University of Arizona Primary Care Physician Scholarship Reception on Friday, January 31, recognized the first 21 recipients from the UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson. Medical students will receive free tuition in exchange for practicing in a rural or urban underserved community in Arizona for up to four years, depending on how many years they receive the scholarship.

This innovative scholarship program, developed in partnership with and funded by a portion of $8 million provided by the State of Arizona, is part of UArizona Health Sciences’ commitment to remove financial and geographical barriers to education and health-care access. The scholarship program was announced in November 2019. 

Once the scholarship program is fully implemented, about 100 students from UArizona Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix) could receive the scholarship. Through the commitment of these students, UArizona Health Sciences and the State of Arizona, access to primary care will increase in underserved communities statewide, and medical student debt will decrease. All recipients have agreed to practice primary care -- defined as family medicine, general internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, geriatrics and psychiatry --  in a federally designated underserved community in Arizona for at least two years after completing their residency.

The application process was competitive, and students were required to explain and demonstrate their commitment to work in underserved communities in Arizona. Several of their stories are below, followed by a list of all 21 recipients.

Throughout his childhood in Douglas, Arizona, second-year student Raymond Larez, MPH, experienced challenges accessing consistent primary care and trusting health care providers in a system with high turnover. “As a first-generation, bilingual, non-traditional student, I know that I can help these communities. That is why this scholarship is important. More people from rural and underserved communities can go back and provide the care that I know will be helpful to the community.”
Growing up in an underserved area of Phoenix, second-year student Caylan Moore was inspired to help others by his grandmother’s dedication and commitment to their community. “I have learned the power my background brings to a patient encounter,” he says. “I am so excited to return to Maryvale one day to practice. I want to be a living representation that no matter where you come from, you can achieve any dream.”
Fourth-year student Cazandra Zaragoza, MPH, is a graduate of the Pre-Medical Admissions Pathway program. Zaragoza’s biological mother had been a single woman about to die from a treatable illness in rural Mexico when she was forced to choose between paying for health care and supporting her family; she put her children up for adoption and died three months later. As a PCP, Zaragoza intends to provide excellent health care to all individuals, especially those—like her mother—who are most underserved. “The need [for primary care physicians] in Arizona is great, and I am committed to being part of the solution.”

Read more about the recipients here.

  • Oumou Bah
  • Dawn Bowling
  • Joshua Calton
  • Guadalupe Davila
  • Layne Genco
  • Raymond Larez
  • Julia Liatti
  • Isabel Nava-Marquez
  • Gabrielle Milillo
  • Radu Moga
  • Caylan Moore
  • China Rae Newman
  • Leila Noghrechi
  • Kaloni Philipp
  • Cara Popeski
  • Anna Ressel
  • Naiby Rodriguez
  • Hannah Shy
  • Beverley Trutter
  • Marie B. Villanueva
  • Cazandra Zaragoza