Samuel L. Kountz Diversity Fellowship

Samuel L. Kountz, an African-American from the State of Arkansas, began his internship at Stanford in 1958. After completing his training he became a faculty member and rose to the rank of Associate Professor at Stanford. Dr Kountz is credited with being one of the team who performed the first kidney transplant on the West Coast in 1965. This was the beginning of an illustrious career in organ transplantation which included full Professorship and Directorship of the Transplant Service at UCSF and Chair of the Department of Surgery at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. Amongst his many honors and awards, Dr. Kountz was elected President of the prestigious Society of University Surgeons. He was also the recipient of three separate honorary doctorate degrees.

Over and above his many accomplishments and honors, Dr. Kountz is most notably remembered for his professionalism, understanding, compassion and sensitivity towards all, placing exceptional high value on and respect for the dignity of his fellow men and women. Dr. Kountz treated everyone with the highest regard irrespective of whether the person was a patient, colleague, or other health-care worker. This was especially apparent in his genuine sensitivity to the suffering of patients with End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) and the socioeconomic challenges in their receiving treatment.

This compelled Dr. Kountz to action with the U.S. Congress where he passionately lobbied for the Medicare ESRD Program in order to bring equity in patient access to dialysis and transplantation, regardless of financial means or race.

Program Overview

The Stanford University Department of Surgery established the Samuel L. Kountz Diversity Fellowship in 2008 to help encourage underrepresented minority student interest in an academic surgical career. This Fellowship will provide a stipend for a senior student sub-internship in the Division of General Surgery. Stanford University Medical Center is a major referral center for the management of surgical disease and major trauma. Students enrolled in our sub-internships will be part of a surgical team and will be expected to function as an integral member of that team. This may include assisting in the medical management of floor patients, assisting in the operating room and attending surgical clinic. As a member of this team, students will gain important insight into the management of complex surgical and non-surgical problems.

Given the cost of living in Palo Alto, CA, we realize that not all students may be financially capable of participating in our general surgery sub-internships. For this reason, the General Surgery Program is offering a stipend in the amount of $2,500.00 to help defer the costs of flight, lodging, $100 tuition fee, and incidental expenses. This will be awarded to the medical student who best demonstrates his or her interest in surgery and academic ability to pursue the rigors of an academic surgical career.


Application Requirements

Application deadline is JUNE 10. The winner will be informed by July 1st thereby allowing time for the medical school’s scheduling deadline for the autumn quarter clinical clerkships. Sub-internship will take place during Stanford University’s periods 6 or 7 rotation (November-January).

  • Available to 4th year U.S. medical students who have successfully completed a General Surgery clerkship
  • One- page personal statement describing your interest in pursuing a career in surgery
  • A copy of most recent medical school transcript
  • One letter of recommendation from a faculty mentor
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Photo


Please have your official transcript mailed to Anita Hagan, Program Manager:
Division of General Surgery
300 Pasteur Drive, Room H3691
Stanford, CA 94305

Email remaining documents as one PDF to Anita Hagan (it is ok to email an unofficial transcript while we wait for official to be mailed).

We look forward to your application and wish you all the best of luck in your career.


2015 Recipient

Natasha Coleman

Brown University

The Samuel Kountz Diversity Fellow for 2015 was Natasha Coleman. Natasha grew up in Bethesda, MD. She earned her AB with honors in neurobiology at Harvard University. Prior to medical school, she worked for 2 years in the Cancer Clinical Trials Office of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. She is currently in her final year at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. During her training, she has been active in issues related to diversity and health care disparities.

Additional resources: