SJV Medical Scholarship awards $220,000 to 1st scholarship recipient

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Tuesday, September 6, 2022
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The San Joaquin Valley Medical Scholarship Foundation is taking action to bring more doctors to the region by offering an incredible opportunity.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- The San Joaquin Valley Medical Scholarship Foundation is taking action to bring more doctors to the region by offering an incredible opportunity.

$220,000 - that's how much scholarship money Dr. Tania Zavalza Jimenez received from the SJV Medical Scholarship Foundation, but it all started with a case of COVID.

"I happened to be down with COVID when my program director sent an email to a couple of us in the program," explained Zavalza Jimenez.

That email had details on a scholarship opportunity.

"Had I been on a service like I am now, I wouldn't of had the time to do it," added Zavalza Jimenez. "But I was down, so I took the chance and emailed and inquired about it."

Raised in Turlock, Tania attended medical school in the Caribbean, and graduated with over $400,000 in debt, which is not uncommon for medical students. The SJV Scholarship board is aiming to change this with a scholarship substantial enough to help.

"The debt is horrible," said SJV Scholarship Board President Sergio Ilic. "What they give is an amount that doesn't make a dent in this tremendous debt."

Board members tell us the goal is to give out multiple scholarships each year. Tania Zavalza Jimenez is the first recipient.

"It was really exciting, " added Zavalza Jimenez. "Things like this don't come around often."

Thanks to the scholarship, she'll be able to pursue her passion, teaching future doctors.

"I know academics tends to pay less, so I was like, 'Am I going to be able to afford academics because i want to pay off my debts?'" said Zavalza Jimenez.

The scholarship requires recipients to be from the Valley and stay in the Valley to serve, something Tania says has always been her goal.

"It's so important," said Zavalza Jimenez. "Our Valley is so underserved and we have so many cultures. We need doctors that speak different languages and want to stay in the Valley."

If you'd like to help contribute to the scholarship or are a medical student interested in applying, you can find details on their website.