The Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation recently presented its largest scholarship gift to 84 High Desert students seeking a health science education.

From college students overcoming significant challenges to single mothers pursuing their dreams of a healthcare career, each recipient has demonstrated academic excellence and a sincere commitment to serving the healthcare needs of their community, said foundation officials.

“I am so proud and honored that our scholarship program has grown each year to reward hardworking and deserving students who want to pursue a career in healthcare,” said Dr. Reddy. “My dream was to be able to give others the opportunities I was given to get an education.”

Reddy added that education is the first step for people to acquire the knowledge and skills they need to make the world a better place.

At the June 9 awards dinner at the Spring Valley Lake Country Club in Victorville, nursing student Angelina Clinkenbeard shared the tragic story of the sudden loss of her father.

Clinkenbeard also opened up about her inspirational mother, a registered nurse she calls a “hero” who regularly stops by to help others.

“She really impacted me. She makes a difference,” Clinkenbeard said. “She saves lives. How could I not want to do the same? Being a nurse is my only dream.

The students each shared a portion of a six-figure donation from the foundation to pursue their healthcare career dreams.

Founded in 1989 by Dr. Reddy, Prime, who is the Chairman, President and CEO of Health Care, the foundation has donated millions of dollars to various charities supporting health education, scholarships universities, public health education and free community clinics.

To date, the foundation has awarded more than $1.5 million in scholarships to residents of High Desert.

The “outstanding and diverse” scholarship students were celebrated by a group of local health and community leaders, including:

  • Executive Director Sunitha Reddy of the foundation.
  • Foundation co-founder Dr. Venkamma Reddy.
  • Fred Hunter, CEO of Desert Valley Hospital and Desert Valley Medical Group
  • John Morris, RN, Emergency Medicine, Desert Valley Hospital
  • Dr. Paul Lyons, Dean and President of California University of Science and Medicine.
  • Thurston “Smitty” Smith, Assemblyman for the 33rd District.
  • Debra Jones, mayor of Victorville.
Chief Executive Sunitha Reddy (left) and Co-Founder Dr. Venkamma Reddy speak at the recent Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

“This year’s fellows have incredible stories of hard work and perseverance,” said Sunitha Reddy. “Each individual was selected for their passion for putting others first and their commitment to improving lives and our community. We are grateful for the opportunity to support their dreams and future in medicine.

More scholarships were awarded this year than in previous years. This year’s increase in scholarship applications from students, aged 17 to 52, indicates that more people are interested in giving service to others through healthcare careers, foundation officials said.

Southern California’s high desert is considered a health professional shortage area, meaning there is a shortage of primary, dental, or mental health care providers.

Many fellows have expressed a desire to remain in the high desert serving their community.

Additionally, to meet the significant need for physicians in the Inland Empire, Dr. Reddy and the Prime Healthcare Foundation established one of our state’s newest medical schools, California University of Science and Medicine at Colton, with a gift of more than $60 million.

The first class of 62 new physicians graduated on May 21, and many of them will complete their residency and/or have committed to practice in the Inland Empire.

“We see a common thread that should be celebrated, an unrelenting commitment to health care and a sincere desire to help others,” said Dr Prem Reddy. “In the aftermath of this unprecedented global pandemic, healthcare workers continue to be on the front lines to selflessly care for patients around the world.

For more information about the Dr. Prem Reddy Family Foundation, contact Eddie Hernandez at [email protected]

Daily Press reporter Rene Ray De La Cruz can be reached at 760-951-6227 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @DP_ReneDeLaCruz