Gifted: Helping Solve the Doctor Shortage

For David W. and Nina P. Mitchell, educating doctors to make sure they return to Inland Southern California is the best way to establish a legacy

By Lilledeshan Bose

David W. and Nina P. Mitchell have supported students through various scholarships at the University of California, Riverside, since 1987.

In 2009, the longtime Riverside residents, along with their daughter Ann Alden, established the Scott and Jennifer Alden, Father and Daughter Scholarship to honor their granddaughter, a UCR alumna, and son-in-law, who passed away within months of each other.

But it wasn’t until their family doctor, UCR Board of Trustee member Dr. Steven Larson, talked about the severe shortage of doctors in Riverside County and San Bernardino County that they established the David W. and Nina P. Mitchell School of Medicine Award.

It’s a scholarship aligned with the mission of the School of Medicine.

“The recipients of our scholarship go away for their residency, but then they come back and spend five years (serving the communities) in the Inland Empire,” David Mitchell said.

David W. and Nina P. Mitchell

So far, five scholarship recipients have participated, including third-year medical student and Mitchell Scholar Erin Liang.

“I am so grateful for their incredible generosity, as well as their tremendous selflessness in supporting the health and betterment of the Riverside community,” Liang said. “There is so much stress and worry associated with medical school, but their support enables me to focus on my education and to provide the best care to my patients.”

Having already held an association with UCR, it was easy for the couple to decide to contribute to the School of Medicine’s mission.

“We felt a difference,” David Mitchell said. “The atmosphere at the school was just so much of a big family. We like our association with the School of Medicine, aside from our association with the (scholarship recipients). It’s like raising our kids over again, and these are successful kids.”

Plus, giving back to the School of Medicine is a wonderful legacy, they said.

“For anyone who is trying to make a contribution to the future of this country, what better way than training a doctor?” David Mitchell said. “Nina and I are both in our 80s. It gives us a real good feeling to know that these five young people are going to treat people and make their lives better — long after we’re gone. You hope they remember the part we played in those lives, but it makes us feel good to make that contribution for the future as well.”