BUIES CREEK — First-year medical student, Elizabeth “Liza” Gibbs has been awarded the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, which includes full payment of medical school tuition, required fees, other educational costs and a monthly living stipend.
The NHSC scholarship is a service-based award and recipients commit to one year of service in a medically underserved area for each year of support, with a two-year minimum commitment.
“I planned to live and work in an area with limited access to medical care before I applied to medical school or became aware of the NHSC — it’s personal to me,” Gibbs said. “I grew up in a medically underserved community, but both my grandfathers were medical doctors, so I knew what other families were missing.”
Gibbs was born and raised in a small, rural town in western North Carolina. She attended school with classmates who drove 30 to 40 minutes just to get to the only high school, barely half the distance it took to get to the nearest physician’s office. She is all too familiar with how a lack of available medical care and health education can be detrimental to a community.
“Growing up in a small, blue collar community has had the largest impact on my decision to work with underserved populations,” she said.
Gibbs said she plans to pursue a career in primary health care. There is a huge primary care physician shortage across the state of North Carolina, and she really wants to make an impact in smaller, rural areas.
“I am committed to primary care medicine because I know that access to health care and medical treatment can make a difference and save lives,” she said. “My goal is to be a physician that not only [treats symptoms], but also educates people about achieving and maintaining excellent health.”
— by Shelley Hobbs