Practice with passion
Alumnus and Rush scholarship recipient practices with passion for preventive care
Cory Pollard, MD ’16, has a passion for people, specifically those who can’t access the care they need. His drive for helping has taken him from serving in small community clinics in his home state of Florida to the rural towns of southern central Mexico, bringing much needed medical care.
Graduating with honors from the University of Florida College of Medicine in 2016, Pollard began his academic career conducting research at the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences’ department of food science and human nutrition. Informed by his interest in nutrition, Pollard was passionate about preventive health care, settling on family medicine, where he could have the greatest impact on his patients’ overall health.
“The thing that really drew me to family medicine was the idea that we’re able to educate patients and empower them to make choices that keep them healthy and prevent them from getting sick,” Pollard shared. “We’re counseling our patients on things that affect their likelihood for developing heart disease, diabetes or obesity.”
At UF, Pollard was not alone in his passion for bringing health care to the underserved. He was one of the first recipients of the Rush Family Scholarship. Founded by UF alumnus Joe Rush, MD, the scholarship is awarded to fourth-year medical students with a passion for practicing family medicine or rural health care. Rush earned both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Florida.
“There’s an urgent need to support the education of doctors and nurses with a passion for providing primary care to rural and other underserved communities,” Rush shared. “I’m proud to have contributed to the development and success of Dr. Pollard and others who see that need and have a passion to meet it.”
After his residency, Pollard went on to practice family medicine. According to Pollard, what he enjoyed most about primary care was getting to know his patients through one-on-one preventive health counseling.
“During medical school we learned about the social determinants of health,” Pollard said. “Housing, food, access to transportation and all these other factors. There’s a big piece of the pie that goes into what people’s health outcomes are, and only a small sliver of that gets addressed in a doctor’s office.”
With his eyes on impacting a bigger piece of that pie for those in need, Pollard has recently begun a new position as a hospitalist with Optum Health, which will provide him with more time to focus on ways that he can contribute to improving social determinants of health in his local area.