UA doctors graduation, meeting community needs and passions to h - Tucson News Now

UA doctors graduation, meeting community needs and passions to heal

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

More than 100 students graduated from the University of Arizona's College of Medicine tonight, with half of them choosing a career in family medicine.

For some graduates, available job opportunities from a doctor shortage played a part in their decision.

No matter what area of focus they choose, the grads said they were always inspired to heal.

Nearly 110 University of Arizona College of Medicine grads are about to begin the next phase of their careers.

"It was really neat knowing that what I wanted to do was going to really give back."

Graduate Lauren Bergstand is looking to fill a need.

"I grew up in Sholo, a small town in northern Arizona and saw first hand what it was like to not have enough physicians, enough primary care physicians to meet the need of a community."

According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the state needs more than 300 primary care physicians to adequately serve the population, especially rural areas.

"I love continuity of care. I love getting to see the same patients year after year."

"It's really the culmination of many years of hard work and dedication," said graduate Brian Vander Werf. He has decided to take on a specialty: anesthesiology.

"It's something that I really fell in love with when I was in the military, and I knew that that's where I wanted to be. I wanted to be where somebody needed the care right then and there."

The specialty route is generally thought to be a higher-paying field, but Vander Werf says he was inspired by his military comrades.

"I had the privilege of being mentored by some really outstanding officers and they really ignited the spark."

About 60 percent of the graduates are women, a trend the college has seen for several years now. 

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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