Jose Aguilar didn't always know he wanted to be a doctor. And he certainly didn't know he was going to get help with that journey from a doctor he had never even met. That doctor was Chief of Surgery Christopher Hudlin of Gould Medical Group. As luck would have it, Jose's journey began as he became one of the first recipients of the Dr. Christopher Hudlin Memorial Scholarship while attending Health Careers Academy, a high school in Stockton.
Health Careers Academy first opened in 2011 with a goal to bring more qualified healthcare workers to San Joaquin County. The school closely resembles that of the medical field with hallways that are called “units” and class periods that are called “rounds.” The students even wear medical scrubs and white jackets instead of uniforms. In 2016, the school earned a spot on Newsweek’s “Beating the Odds” list, identifying 500 schools across the nation that prepared low-income students for college. Jose and four of his classmates were the first to receive the Dr. Christopher Hudlin Memorial Scholarship in 2017.
Although Jose had never crossed paths with Dr. Hudlin, he had heard about him from his time volunteering at Gould Medical Group. Since his sophomore year in high school, Jose dedicated most of his time to helping in Urgent Care, but also got the chance to float and work in different departments.
"I've always found reward in helping people," said Jose when asked why he wanted to work in medicine. And he found that as he interacted with patients, it further fueled his motivation to be in healthcare.
"The appreciation (of the patients), no matter how small my contribution…it was nice being a part of that," Jose explained.
The Dr. Christopher Hudlin Memorial Scholarship helps Jose pay for his books and tuition as a pre-med student at UC Davis. He misses his family in Stockton – and home cooked meals – but all of the support of his family helps Jose believe that he can be a doctor. Currently, Jose is focusing on school but is looking for a clinic to continue his volunteer work…hopefully with Sutter Health.
Learn more about the Dr. Christopher Hudlin Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund or contact Suzanne Zolfo, Director of Philanthropy at ZolfoS@sutterhealth.org, to make a contribution.