Xavier grad awarded LSU Health Shreveport scholarship from Ochsner

NEW ORLEANS – Recent Xavier University of Louisiana graduate Sarah Bertrand was awarded the inaugural Ochsner Health System Medical School Scholarship for LSU Health Shreveport – School of Medicine. The scholarship award will cover cost of tuition and fees for Bertrand to attend the four-year medical school program at LSU Health Shreveport – School of Medicine starting this fall.

Bertrand, 21, graduated Magna Cum Laude this spring from Xavier with a degree in biology, a minor in chemistry and honors in biology, English and chemistry. While at Xavier, Bertrand was an active member of the school’s chapter of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Delta Sigma Theta – a service-based organization. Originally from Marrero, La., Bertrand grew up in Baton Rouge and graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy before moving to New Orleans to study at Xavier – the same school where her mother earned her pharmacy degree. 

“Medicine is a profession where you can really help someone and make a positive change in their lives. I’ve seen this first hand from my mom working in the medical field. She’s really inspired me to follow this path,” said Bertrand. “There’s a strong need for high quality healthcare here in Louisiana. I was raised here, and I’d like to give back by serving this community.”

On average, it takes 7 to 15 years for a physician to complete medical training. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, the demand for physicians is projected to grow faster than the current supply and it anticipated that the United States will see a shortage of up to nearly 122,000 physicians by 2032. The physician shortage is most pronounced in Southern states like Louisiana.

“Since its founding, Ochsner Health System has been committed to training the next generation of healthcare providers. Given the physician shortages faced by our country, continuing to invest in the future of healthcare education is critically important,” said Leonardo Seoane, M.D., Chief Academic Officer, Ochsner Health System. “This scholarship creates a clear pathway for students to continue their medical education here in Louisiana. Furthermore, it builds upon existing partnerships with Xavier University and LSU Health Shreveport – School of Medicine. By working together, we are sending a clear message that we believe and choose to invest in the future of medicine in Louisiana – today and for years to come,”

To qualify for consideration for this scholarship, students were required to be Louisiana resident, Xavier students, and have already been accepted into the LSU Health Shreveport – School of Medicine. To apply for the scholarship, Xavier students submitted an application detailing academic accomplishments, recommendations and an essay reflecting on how they have overcome adversity. A joint Xavier and Ochsner committee reviewed the applications and selected the final scholarship recipient. Moving forward, one scholarship recipient will be selected annually for this scholarship program.

The scholarship program is the next evolution in a long-standing relationship between Ochsner and Xavier, which dates to the early 1980s when Ochsner and Xavier’s College of Pharmacy established an affiliation agreement partnership to provide educational experiences to pharmacy students. Through this partnership, Ochsner has provided clinical training for an average of 80 Xavier pharmacy students each year. Earlier this year, Ochsner and Xavier announced the launch of a new Physician Assistant program, with the first class beginning in January 2020.

“Nurturing Louisiana talent is essential to the future of healthcare in our great state. It is gratifying that Sarah Bertrand, one of our Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (UGRAP) graduates, was selected for this inaugural scholarship from Ochsner Health System.  We are grateful for the support from Ochsner and look forward to all that Sarah will accomplish in her pursuit of becoming a physician.” said Dr. Debbie Chandler, Associate Dean for Diversity and Student Affairs, School of Medicine at LSU Health Shreveport.

On Oct. 1, 2018 Ochsner Health System (Ochsner) and LSU Health Shreveport jointly formed Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport to oversee and coordinate activities between the health sciences center and the healthcare delivery system in Shreveport and Monroe, La.  Ochsner LSU Health Shreveport is a public private partnership with a vision to improve the health and well-being of its communities, access to care, quality and facilities, expand patient-centered technology, grow the medical school and enhance research in North Louisiana by building on the strengths of Ochsner and LSU Health Shreveport. Under the new structure, Ochsner brings their nationally-recognized expertise to the management of operations for partner hospitals in Shreveport and Monroe, clinics and the clinical activity of the LSUHSC-S Faculty Group Practice. LSU will continue to successfully oversee the LSU Health Shreveport School of Medicine, School of Allied Health Professions, School of Graduate Studies, Graduate Medical Education and research initiatives.

For more information about Ochsner Academics, visit www.ochsner.org/locations/center-for-academic-excellence. For more information about Xavier, visit www.xula.edu. For more information about LSU Health Shreveport – School of Medicine visit www.lsuhscshreveport.edu/our-schools/school-of-medicine.