The military has always been a large extended family for Arianne D. Sacramento, a rising fourth-year student at Tulane University School of Medicine. Her dad served more than 23 years in the U.S. Air Force and spent another 12 working at Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities, and Sacramento grew up on military bases around the world. “Serving those who served” was always in the back of her mind, so when Sacramento decided to pursue medicine, she set a goal to one day be a physician at a VA medical center.
Sacramento’s goal is now much more attainable. She was recently awarded a scholarship from the VA’s Health Professional Scholarship Program. The scholarship pays for Sacramento’s medical school tuition and authorized required fees as well as provides a monthly stipend and an annual education expense payment. In return, Sacramento is obligated to practice medicine for 18 months at a VA medical center.
Working with veterans is something Sacramento has long hoped to do.
“My parents are getting older, and I grew up in a family where kids take care of their parents, eventually,” said Sacramento. “This scholarship is a step towards being able to take care of them and my extended family, which is the Air Force brothers and sisters, the military support folks. I’m very excited.”
Sacramento has already completed two clinical clerkships (Internal Medicine and Surgery) at New Orleans VA Medical Center, where she learned about veteran-specific health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, along with chronic conditions including coronary artery disease (CAD) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). She says the clerkships also gave her insight into barriers some veterans face to accessing care, including homelessness. She is scheduled to complete her Internal Medicine Acting Internship at New Orleans VA Medical Center this summer.
Sacramento plans on applying to Internal Medicine and Medicine-Psychiatry residencies this fall and hopes to pursue a Hematology-Oncology fellowship in the future. She’s also pursuing an MBA and MPH along with her medical degree.
“This gives me deeper understanding of public health policies, health economics, quality improvement, insurance, and more,” said Sacramento. “I believe that this knowledge will help me navigate potential barriers to healthcare and advocate for patients in the future.”
Sacramento’s most immediate goal is completing a residency program, but she hopes to one day practice medicine near one of the Air Force bases where her father once served.
“My dad goes to the VA, my godparents go to the VA and a lot of people I know, cousins, friends, they all go to VA medical centers,” said Sacramento. “I just want to make sure they get the best care possible.”