Dr. Rugaya Abaza Memorial Scholarship
The Dr. Rugaya Abaza Memorial Scholarship honors the life and legacy of Class of 2019 graduate Dr. Rugaya Abaza. A graduate of the Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) program, Dr. Abaza was a proud immigrant, activist, Arab woman, and surgeon. She developed close relationships with countless students and faculty at Morehouse School of Medicine, ultimately serving as fourth year class president. She remains beloved in the memory of her MSM family for her witty humor, empathy for others, and caring nature. Those who had the honor of knowing her remember her for her steadfast dedication to refugees and global health, improving diversity within medicine, and standing up for health inequity and social injustices through an intersectional lens. In 2019, she matched into the General Surgery residency training program at the University of Florida College of Medicine in Jacksonville. Unfortunately, Dr. Abaza was diagnosed with breast cancer during the first months of her first year in residency. She underwent extensive surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, all while continuing to pursue her surgical training, and doing what she loved: Surgery. She passed away in July of 2021 after more than two years of treatment. Members of the class of 2019 have collaborated with Dr. Abaza’s family to establish an endowed scholarship in her memory. With this scholarship, they hope to address the costs of education for women of color at Morehouse School of Medicine who are pursuing residency training in a surgical specialty.