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La Mirada Student Awarded St. George University School of Medicine Scholarship

California will need 8,243 primary care doctors by 2030 to avoid a debilitating shortage of physicians, lucky for Southern California there are talented students graduating from the Gateway Cities School Districts. Sonal Singh is a La Mirada resident and a first generation American, who has been awarded the most prestige honor of receiving the St. George University [SGU] School of Medicine Humanitarian Scholarship.

Sonal Singh

Furthering a commitment to global medicine and humanitarian causes, SGU offers partial scholarships to incoming medical students who have demonstrated compassion and commitment to humanitarian causes in their local communities and beyond.

“I visit my parent’s homeland of India frequently. During those summers I would spend time with my family learning Hindi and Kannada from the locals, and volunteering in various capacities for the under served,” says Singh, “Volunteering in a developing nation for nearly two decades and seeing the changes the country has gone through has been one of the most moving experiences I have ever had.”

“Sonal is an angel,” states her Mother, “And has been since childhood, I don’t think this just because I am her mother. She has a helping nature in her that is apparent to any person she comes in contact with.” Her mother goes on to say that Sonal laid the seed for ‘Splash’ when she proposed to City Council to have a swimming pool built for the city as a class project.

Singh has community-based humanitarian experiences and a sincere desire to help ease the suffering of people who have been impacted by natural and man-made disasters around the world. “My experiences in the under served villages of India have taught me to be kind and warm in my approach to patient care. However these experiences have left me troubled,” states Singh, “I realize the lack of access to care that many populations face. Working with the women in these villages has shown me how Americans can take basic feminine hygiene for granted, many women in India have no access to proper menstrual care. This lack of access to basic care and supplies is just one complex problem in healthcare that I want to understand and help solve.”

The primary criterion for the award is a person’s volunteer experience and this is where Singh excels. She has traveled to the village of Goraghatta to conduct blood tests to determine whether patients have a blood disorder; volunteered at Jayashree Nursing Home in Kumara Park, Bangalore as an OBGYN; she has also volunteered with the Lions Club of Bangalore Jayanagar helping children learn to read; studied the history of India; organized donation drives for the California wildfires and after the UCLA shooting in 2016 organized an on campus community discussion on gun violence just to mention a few of the areas where Singh has funneled her passion.

“Our daughter Sonal, had her heart set on becoming a doctor, from an early age,” remarks her Father, “It was great news when she received admission into the SGU Global Scholars Medical Program. We were delighted for her. The reality that we would miss her set in later, however, the happiness of her fulfilling her dream, was far greater. We eagerly look forward to sharing her journey as she works toward making her dream a reality. We are so very proud of her.”

International medical students like these are crucial to combating the doctor shortage, since research shows that medical students tend to return to their home states to practice.  In 2018, more than 66 of SGU grads entered residencies in California, more than two-thirds of them in primary care.

Upon graduation Singh wants to focus on sports medicine “My love affair with sports medicine began in the UCLA Acosta Athletic Training Center. Over three years as a student athletic trainer I applied treatment techniques and modalities to manage various musculoskeletal injuries and incorporated rehabilitation exercises to prevent acute and chronic injuries,” conveys Singh.

“My academic record and background are somewhat unusual.  My path towards medicine is paved with political science, the performing arts and years of clinical research,” notes Singh,” As a pre-medical, political science major at UCLA I had a unique perspective on the way politics influence humanity, this allowed me to have a more ‘culturally sensitive’ approach to patient care and interaction. Understanding the history behind terrorism and the response from various nations has given me insight into the beliefs of diverse people from across the world. I am prepared to be a global physician.”

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