First Ochsner Medical School Scholarship Recipient Begins Residency

NEW ORLEANS – Five years ago, Xavier University of Louisiana and Ochsner Health launched a scholarship program to provide candidates from underserved communities access to medical training at LSU Health – Shreveport School of Medicine (LSUHS School of Medicine). This year, Xavier and Ochsner have announced that the first Ochsner Health Medical School Scholarship recipient, 2019 Xavier alumna Sarah Bertrand, has graduated and is entering a residency in the Gulf South.

Ochsner and Xavier also this year awarded the fifth annual Ochsner Health Medical School Scholarship for LSUHS School of Medicine to Van Smith III, a 2023 graduate of Xavier.

“Graduates Sarah Bertrand and Van Smith are joining the ranks of generations of Xavierites who have, for nearly 100 years, pursued a more just and humane society by becoming leaders and changemakers in their chosen fields,” said Reynold Verret, president, Xavier University of Louisiana. “Education is the pathway to social justice, and this scholarship program is part of our dedication to preparing more health care professionals in our fight against health inequity.”

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Bertrand, who graduated magna cum laude from Xavier with a degree in biology, has matched into Family Medicine at Cahaba UAB Family Medicine – Urban Track in Birmingham, Ala. Cahaba Medical Care is a primary care nonprofit organization dedicated to addressing healthcare disparities and supporting underserved communities in rural and urban areas of Alabama.

“Xavier provided me with a solid education in the biological sciences and liberal arts, both of which have greatly aided my medical school career and helped shape my service-oriented view of medicine,” said Bertrand. “I am grateful to Ochsner for providing me with a scholarship that helped secure my future in primary care. Following residency, I hope to pursue a fellowship in addiction medicine and continue practicing with the hope of following Xavier’s mission in creating a more just and humane society.”

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