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Local medical student hits scholarship jackpot with surprise from Arizona Lottery

Medical school graduates face hefty loan payments after finishing school. The Arizona Lottery gave a future doctor a surprise to help reduce the financial burden.

PHOENIX — Medical school graduates can expect to face hefty loan payments after finishing school.  

According to the latest statistics, the average debt for a medical student exceeds $200,000.  

Combine that with a national shortage of doctors over the next ten years and there could be more gaps in healthcare especially for those who live in rural areas.

On Thursday, the Arizona Lottery surprised one University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix student with a scholastic jackpot: a $35,000 check.   

Mary Beth Putz, a third year medical student and Arizona native, was honored in a check presentation ceremony that included dignitaries such as Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Arizona Lottery Executive Director Gregg Edgar, UArizona College of Medicine Dean Guy Reed and school mascot Wilbur.

“For medical school students, we graduate with a lot of debt, and sometimes that can be a challenge to working in the communities you want to work in.” says Mary Beth.  

Besides being a medical student, Mary Beth also founded Harm Reduction Alliance Chapter in New Mexico. The organization is a public health strategy group that focuses on mitigating harm related to high-risk behaviors, such as IV drug use.

“For me, working in some of those underprivileged areas, marginalized communities, it’s hard to do.  They don’t pay a lot because the patients you’re working with aren’t able to pay all the time, but that’s where my passion lie," Putz said.

Dean Reed says that with an expected shortage of doctors, this scholarship from the Arizona Lottery can transform lives.  

“This scholarship gift enables Mary Beth to serve her dreams, which are our dreams, to make the community healthier.”