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SaDa Family Supports Scholarship for KGI’s Physician Assistant Students

A generous gift from Drs. Lakshmi and Hanu Damerla to Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) has established the SaDa Scholarship to support the Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies (MSPA) program.

“The biggest inspiration for establishing a scholarship is to honor my grandfather and my family, who encouraged education and pushed us to our limits to succeed,” said Lakshmi. “Not everyone that works hard in life is always successful…you also need encouragement, support, and some luck on your side to succeed.”

Lakshmi currently serves as an advisory board member for the MSPA program, helping find clinical sites and interviewing potential students. She believes the PA profession is vital to healthcare and wants to ensure that future PAs are trained well to understand their impact on the health system.

“We are grateful for the support of Drs. Lakshmi and Hanu Damerla to the MSPA program,” said KGI President Dr. Sheldon Schuster. “Our MSPA program is at the forefront of redefining healthcare education to better our communities. Scholarship support is critical for creating access for underrepresented and first-generation students pursuing graduate-level education.”

The scholarship will support six MSPA students over the next three years.

“I am very grateful to my grandfather, a true champion of women’s education who inspired me to further my education,” Lakshmi continued.

“Therefore, we want to provide these students financial support honoring him and continue to foster educational endeavors for their brighter future.”

The inaugural MSPA cohort is starting this upcoming fall. The 27-month program will prepare students to become integral healthcare team members and provide compassionate care to their communities.

In alignment with KGI’s mission and values, the program will integrate leadership skills, innovative/entrepreneurial approaches to problem-solving, and interprofessional collaboration with other KGI programs. MSPA program graduates will enter the workforce with a better understanding of the social determinants of health and patient-centered medicine, so they are fully prepared to play a leadership role in the community and public health.