The Alliance in the News


UC Santa Cruz grad River Charles earns Sutter scholarship for medical school

University of California Santa Cruz – University News & Events, July 6, 2015

By Mark Riley, SMSC

Printer-Friendly Version


SANTA CRUZ -- River Charles, who graduated from UC Santa Cruz in June with a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology, will receive the ninth annual Primary Care Physician Award from Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center (SMSC) and the Central California Alliance for Health.

"River has an outstanding academic background and his volunteer efforts have given him insight into the health needs of the community," said Stephen Gray, SMSC chief administrative officer. "We look forward to River applying those skills and insights to his career as a doctor."

Charles will be attending the University of Minnesota Medical School in Minneapolis. He graduated from UC Santa Cruz with highest honors and cum laude in biochemistry and molecular biology, was on the dean's honor list seven times, and is a recipient of the Doug Drexler Chemistry Scholarship. He served as president of the UCSC Chemistry Club and volunteered with the Santa Cruz AIDS Project and Diabetes Research Center in Tustin, California. Charles' interest in a medical career was inspired by a medical emergency with his mother when he was young and encouragement from his grandfather, who is a scientist and primary care physician.

The $10,000 annual award was established by SMSC and the Alliance in conjunction with the UC Santa Cruz Foundation to help carry out a mission to provide high-quality primary care to Central Coast Medi-Cal patients. The award supports a graduating UCSC senior who will be entering an accredited medical school, and the recipient must intend to return to the Central Coast to practice in primary care.

Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is part of the Sutter Health network.

To view images with the original article, visit:

Since the last round of funding and regulation changes in 2012, Elderday of Santa Cruz remained as one of two adult day health care centers in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties.

"We share this victory with our hardworking team of employees who, through all the transitions, the difficult times and the uncertain times, have kept the participants engaged, served our community and ensured that we were successful with the funding we had," said Raymon Cancino, who heads Community Bridges, which took over Elderday in April 2013 and operates nine other human service programs in Santa Cruz County. "While this doesn’t solve all our problems, it gives us new life and a renewed sense of hope.".

Two-thirds of Elderday participants are eligible for skilled nursing facility care, which costs an average of $7,000 per month. Elderday costs about $1,600 per month.

“The Alliance plan appreciates the important services provided by Elderday and other Adult Day Health Care programs that help some of our most medically fragile members maintain their health and quality of life,” said Alan McKay, who heads the Central California Alliance for Health.

Private donations have helped support Elderday through fluctuations in public funding, officials said. For information, visit: