Expanding the health care workforce in Central Texas
St. David’s Foundation has announced a gift of $525,000 in scholarship funds for Central Texas medical students attending the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. These funds will create five full-ride scholarships for highly deserving students at the College of Medicine. Additionally, in memory of Earl Grant, M.D., Texas A&M University Class of 1950 and long-time board member of St. David’s Foundation, one of these deserving students will receive an additional $25,000 over their four years of school to help cover living expenses. St. David’s Foundation has made a series of grants in recent years to support health care workforce development in Central Texas.
Through a unique partnership, St. David’s Foundation reinvests proceeds from St. David’s HealthCare to help build healthy communities. St. David’s Foundation signature programs include the largest scholarship program in Texas for aspiring health professionals.
“St. David’s Foundation and the Texas A&M College of Medicine share many of the same goals, the most prominent of which is strengthening both health and health care for Central Texans through greater educational opportunities in medicine,” said Paul Ogden, M.D., interim senior vice president and chief operating officer of Texas A&M Health Science Center and interim dean of College of Medicine. “By identifying and educating Texans to take care of Texans, we are reinvesting in our own communities and providing medical care where it is needed most.”
The rising cost of medical education and increasing student debt have made it progressively more difficult for financially disadvantaged students to become physicians. The economics of taking on substantial debt is also largely responsible for the declining numbers of physicians pursuing careers in primary medicine, as well as those practicing in rural areas – the two areas of Texas health care with the greatest need for physicians.
While the Texas A&M College of Medicine ranks first in the state of Texas and second nationally in Best Values for medical schools, the fact remains – medical school is expensive. The debt burden of medical school graduates is most significant among the students coming from economically challenged backgrounds. This mounting student debt significantly restricts the professional options available to graduates.
“Studies show that while student debt is not the primary factor in choosing a specialty or sub-specialty, students will avoid investigating primary care tracks out of concern for how they might repay their debt,” Ogden said. “Scholarship support, such as this, addresses that concern and allows students to explore all areas of medical practice. Our hope is that these opportunities will allow graduates of our program to return to these most underserved areas with the skills and integrity to positively impact the health of these Central Texas communities.”
In addition to serving an immediate need, a portion of these scholarships honors Earl Grant. Grant chose to attend Texas A&M University and received a Bachelor of Science degree in 1950. The Aggie went on to become a physician and practiced family medicine before entering anesthesiology as a specialty. Grant was devoted to both Texas A&M and St. David’s. He practiced at St. David’s hospital for almost 40 years, not retiring until the age of 75. Grant was an avid supporter of all things Texas A&M–he was president of the 12th Man Foundation and gave a permanently endowed 12th Man Scholarship.
Scholarship recipients will be announced later this year as first-year medical students begin classes at the Texas A&M College of Medicine’s Bryan campus.
About St. David’s Foundation:
St. David’s Foundation believes good health returns great benefits to the community. Through a unique partnership, the Foundation reinvests proceeds from St. David’s HealthCare to help build the healthiest community in the world. The Foundation helps people in every corner of the community through signature programs and collaborations with more than 60 nonprofit partners. In 2016, the Foundation is investing more than $75 million to connect thousands of low-income people to a full range of health services. Foundation signature programs include the largest scholarship program in Texas for aspiring health professionals, and the largest mobile dental program in the country. Other focus areas include safety net clinics, agencies serving older adults, mental health initiatives, and support for healthy living initiatives. For more information on St. David’s Foundation visit www.stdavidsfoundation.org