UC Davis medical student Suzana Saric has been selected to receive the 2014-15 Janet Gordon Armour, M.D., Scholarship, which benefits an outstanding first-year female student pursuing primary care medicine. The award, established in 1997, honors Janet Gordon Armour, a 1978 graduate of the UC Davis School of Medicine.
Originally from Croatia, Saric began her second year of medical school this summer and will receive a $4,000 award. She received her bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies at UC Berkeley in 2009.
Saric’s early experiences growing up in a war-torn country and the realization that not all segments of the U.S. population have equal access to health care inspired her to pursue a career in primary care.
“Growing up in a rural community and living with my family in a refugee camp in Serbia and Montenegro, we had very limited access to primary-care services,” Saric recalled. “My family members had to take a bus to the nearest city to see a doctor or obtain prescription refills, but sometimes that was not possible due to bombardment as we lived near the front line of the war. During our seven years in the refugee camp, no doctors came to help those in need of medical services. For many years, I watched helplessly as my family and friends struggled due to lack of access to basic medical services. Now, I am finally able to make a difference.”
As a pre-medical student, Saric volunteered at free health clinics in San Francisco, and she traveled abroad to care for children in medically underserved communities in El Salvador. She also has mentored middle school and high school students on health and disease prevention in Oakland, Calif., and provided reproductive health information at Planned Parenthood and throughout the Northern California community.
At the UC Davis School of Medicine, Saric is co-director of the Bayanihan Clinic, which serves Filipino patients and others in need of primary-care services. She also organized the first Women’s Clinic Day at Bayanihan.
“I enjoy building long-term relationships with patients of all ages and genders,” Saric said. “I look forward to becoming a primary-care physician and serving those with the greatest need.”
The Gordon Armour Scholarship is awarded annually. Gordon Armour, after receiving her medical degree from UC Davis School of Medicine in 1978, completed her residency in family practice in Fresno, and then practiced in the Paradise, Calif., area. She died in 1997 at the age of 48. Her husband, Jerry, who still lives in Paradise; her mother, Helen Gordon; and her sister, Liane Haynes, established the scholarship. They enjoy connecting with scholar recipients and hearing from the winners.
Donations to the Janet Gordon Armour, M.D., Scholarship can be made by calling UC Davis Health System's Alumni Affairs office at 916-734-9410.
The UC Davis School of Medicine is among the nation's leading medical schools, recognized for its research and primary-care programs. The school offers fully accredited master's degree programs in public health and in informatics, and its combined M.D.-Ph.D. program is training the next generation of physician-scientists to conduct high-impact research and translate discoveries into better clinical care. Along with being a recognized leader in medical research, the school is committed to serving underserved communities and advancing rural health. For more information, visit UC Davis School of Medicine at medschool.ucdavis.edu.