A physician assistant (P.A.) student at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis and a UC Davis School of Medicine student each received scholarships from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) to pursue their passion to become primary care providers and join a community of caregivers with a shared desire to serve people with limited access to health care.
"These loan repayment awards and scholarships make it possible for dedicated clinicians to care for the patients who need them most, including Americans with opioid use disorder and other substance abuse challenges,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar.
Asia Satchell, a first-year medical student, and Kaylee Schukei, a first-year P.A. student, are among this year’s 200 awardees across the U.S. receiving a total of $47.6 million. The purpose of the NHSC Scholarship Program is to provide scholarships to students pursuing primary care health professions training in return for a commitment to provide primary health services in a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA).
The NHSC scholarship pays for tuition and various other reasonable education-related expenses and also provides a monthly stipend to assist with living expenses. For every year that a scholarship award pays tuition, the student must commit to practicing in a rural, urban or frontier community that has limited access to care, upon graduation and licensure.
“My first exposure to underserved communities came when I was a UC Davis undergrad volunteering in our student-run health clinics. The people I saw desperately needed care, but they lacked consistent, affordable options. I always felt like I wanted to do more to address these disparities,” Schukei said. “With this scholarship, I’ll be able to make a difference by serving those with limited access to health care. I want to be a provider who advocates for preventive care and motivates people to make lifestyle changes that slow the progression of chronic diseases.”
Satchell, who grew up in San Francisco and wants to specialize in primary care, is “ecstatic” about the scholarship, which she described as an ideal match for her interests. “This is the perfect thing for me because I’m already super passionate about primary care and serving underserved neighborhoods.”
Satchell, who is African American, and whose family has been affected by breast cancer, is passionate about helping African Americans improve their health
Schukei, who is from Chico and graduated from UC Davis, witnessed relatives and veterans she knew struggle with finding access to care. Her experience on the front lines keeping people healthy and increasing healthcare accessibility propelled her into medicine.
The scholarship program is one of several initiatives funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services aimed at expanding the primary care workforce.