UC Santa Cruz grad River Charles earns Sutter scholarship for medical school

River Charles
River Charles

River Charles will receive the ninth annual Primary Care Physician Award from Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC) and the Central California Alliance for Health.

"River has an outstanding academic background and his volunteer efforts have given him insight into the health needs of the community," said Stephen Gray, SMSC chief administrative officer. "We look forward to River applying those skills and insights to his career as a doctor."

Charles (Cowell '15, biochemistry and molecular biology) will be attending the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz with highest honors and cum laude in biochemistry and molecular biology, was on the dean's honor list seven times, and is a recipient of the Doug Drexler Chemistry Scholarship. He served as president of the UCSC Chemistry Club and volunteered with the Santa Cruz AIDS Project and Diabetes Research Center in Tustin, California. Charles' interest in a medical career was inspired by a medical emergency with his mother when he was young and encouragement from his grandfather, who is a scientist and primary care physician.

The $10,000 annual award was established by SMSC and the Alliance in conjunction with the UC Santa Cruz Foundation to help carry out a mission to provide high-quality primary care to Central Coast Medi-Cal patients. The award supports a graduating UCSC senior who will be entering an accredited medical school, and the recipient must intend to return to the Central Coast to practice in primary care.

Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is part of the Sutter Health network.