Aaron Surrey, who graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June with a degree in health sciences, will receive the 7th annual Primary Care Physician Award from Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC) and the Central California Alliance for Health.

"Aaron is the seventh UCSC health sciences senior that we have sponsored since the inception of this program," said Larry deGhetaldi, M.D., president of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation Santa Cruz and SMSC community board member. "This has been a wonderful collaboration with the Alliance and UCSC. We are very proud of each of the seven future primary care physicians."

Surrey found his passion for medicine while taking a course in medical Spanish at UCSC, which he described as the best decision he made for his academic career. With a father who is a reproductive endocrinologist and a mother who is a nurse, Surrey grew up around medicine. He will be attending George Washington School of Medicine in Washington, D.C., starting in August.

"This is a pivotal time for health care, not just in our local area, but throughout the country," Surrey said. "As part of an incoming generation of physicians, I feel it is my duty to make sure that health care continues to grow and thrive in a way that allows access for everyone, not just the select few."

While a student at UCSC, Surrey earned Scholar All-West Region honors for his efforts in soccer, served on the Student Athletic Advisory Council, and formed the UCSC Sports Medicine Club. He served as a volunteer with the Global Medical Brigade in Santa Rosa, Honduras, and as an intern with Dr. Thomas Deetz and Dr. Sunita Singh in the PAMF Santa Cruz Infectious Disease department.

The annual Primary Care Physician Award was established by SMSC and the Alliance in conjunction with the UCSC Foundation to help carry out their mission to provide high-quality primary care to Central Coast Medi-Cal patients. The award supports a graduating senior with a major in health sciences at UCSC who will be entering an accredited medical school soon after successfully completing his or her bachelor’s degree. The recipient's medical training must result in an M.D. or D.O. degree and the recipient must intend to return to the Central Coast to practice in the area of primary care. The funds are intended to help meet the student's requirements for fees and tuition.

"Aaron has a great background and is well-deserving of this scholarship," said Alan McKay, CEO of the Alliance. "We wish him luck with his medical education and look forward to seeing him return as a member of our health care community."

Candidates are recommended by UCSC's Department of Molecular Cell and Developmental Biology to a committee comprised of representatives from SMSC, the Alliance, and the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. There is no implied obligation or requirement that the award recipient shall be on staff at any particular organization in the area, but they will be expected to serve Medi-Cal patients.