Tania Medina, a doctor affiliated with the Venice Family Clinic, is one of seven doctors recognized by the Medical Board of California for providing health care in poor areas of Los Angeles County.

Medina will be able to participate in a loan repayment program.

Medina and the other six doctors received their first checks from the medical board, which will pay off part of their medical school loans if the doctors work with poor and underserved patients for three years.

Last year, the medical board provided $3 million to 32 doctors statewide.

Up to $105,000 is awarded to each eligible doctor.

The awarding of the checks was announced during a meeting Friday, June 18th, at the Venice Family Clinic.

Other doctors recognized who will receive checks are Stephen Chee, Nacemah Ghafur, Potenciano Paredes, Christine Salazar, Ana Saravia and Toya Tillis.

Susan Fleischman, medical director of the Venice Family Clinic and president of the California Primary Care Association, acknowledged Gary Gitnick, past president of the medical board, and State Assemblyman Marco Firebaugh, who attended the meeting.

Gitnick is an advocate for economically disadvantaged patients, a professor of medicine and chief of the Digestive Diseases Division at the UCLA School of Medicine.

Firebaugh, of Bell Gardens, authored Assembly Bill 982, which created a fund with the medical board to support the Physician Corps Loan Repayment Program.

“Seven million people in California have no health insurance,” Fleischman said.

“Assemblyman Firebaugh is to be commended for understanding this crisis and taking action by guaranteeing that doctors who make the sacrifice to practice medicine in underserved areas can get relief for their medical school debts,” Fleischman said.

The Venice Family Clinic is the largest free clinic in the country and provides care for 20,000 patients at seven sites.

The clinic has 449 doctors.

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