The medical industry has been a lucrative business offering high-paying careers, but, once learning about the process of attaining these careers, one understands the sacrifices, time, and money put into them.

Medical students sacrifice their sanity with an unbalanced work/student life schedule, and any future financial security can disappear because of accrued massive debt from college and other financial burdens that may occur on their journey. 

One association looking to help medical students migrate their financial debt is the Physicians Aid Association (PAA). 

“We help physicians and physicians in training when they find themselves in financial difficulties, which are for various reasons.” Dr. Roberta Doucet said as she explained the purpose of the association. “It’s a temporary help as it is physicians helping physicians, and there are few organizations that can help or provide the resources we do to our peers.”

Doucet is a Southern California Permanente Medical Group physician serving in the anesthesiology department at the West Los Angeles Medical Center since 1994.  She has held several leadership positions, including executive board member of the Association of Black Women Physicians, as well as presidency positions in the Student National Medical Association and the Association of Black Women Physicians.

Doucet wants to enlighten people that most physicians are broke and in debt because they have to pay back student loans. 

“People think physicians are well off, so they don’t think about helping them, which makes physicians feel embarrassed and unlikely to show their struggles, so this reason alone and others are the reason why this association was created.”

The PAA was created in 1937 by  Dr. Elizabeth Hohl to help physicians in need. It is a non-profit charitable organization that is dedicated to helping Los Angeles County physicians, their dependent families, and physicians-in-training through unanticipated temporary financial hardships. 

“We have supported physicians through various troubling times, such as helping physicians who are unable to work anymore because of disabilities caused by health problems or tragic situations that may occur in their life. We also help physicians who are retired or become unable to take care of themselves.” Doucet said.

Doucet added  that recently the associations started helping medical students with the financial burden of school as many students face difficulties beyond the classroom. 

“Financial problems derail many medical students such as one student we are helping almost had to leave school to take care of their sick parents as they developed cancer.” Doucet continued, describing other hardships students part of the association have faced. “ We had to temporarily help another physician as they were going through a divorce and were having a troubling time  enduring the process.” 

The association currently sponsors and funds students in need that attend medical schools David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; Keck School of Medicine at USC; Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science; and Western University of Health Sciences. The association does not expect returns from the students or anybody they help as they are practicing their mission statement of physicians helping physicians, but they do appreciate donations to help keep the association operating. 

For more information on the PAA, you can visit https://tinyurl.com/2mpjjcxx.

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