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California bill would fund scholarships for aspiring Central Valley doctors

Source: KCRA 3


Stockton Assm. Carlos Villapudua wants to bring much-needed physicians to underserved areas of the Central Valley by offering full scholarships to aspiring doctors.

According to his office, San Joaquin County has a dire need for more physicians. For every 100,000 residents in the county, there are only 39 primary care physicians, leading to delays in care. However, if Assembly Bill 2132, known as the “California Future Physician Fund,” is passed by the State Assembly, $20 million would be set aside for scholarships.

The goal of his office is to encourage aspiring physicians to want to serve that area. Those scholarships would pay the full tuition of aspiring doctors if they commit to underserved regions.

"I want to be able to say, 'Hey, let's fix that problem. Let me help you with your loans, and let's keep you here. Let's keep you close to your family,” Villapudua said.

Alynna Nguyen is one such aspiring physician who said she feels like this bill would help her stay in the area she wants to grow up to serve while removing the stress of financial burden.

Nguyen is a high school senior who plans to commit to enrolling at UCLA in the fall. Nguyen said her grandmother always wanted her to become a doctor, and she is willing to pursue her dream, even if it means taking on a huge debt because she wants to serve the people of Stockton.

"I would be willing to take that step to be in debt to become a doctor, but it’s quite saddening that I have to do so just because I don’t have the resources to get there. So with the scholarship program, I believe it will really help me a lot and lift off some of that worry and burden, where I’ll be able to achieve my dreams without that worry,” Nguyen said.

Villapudua said the bill is scheduled to be heard in April.