(COLLEGE STATION, TX) — The Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals has established the first endowed scholarship at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in honor of its founding president and CEO, John F. Boff.

Mr. Boff was CEO of the Texas Organization of Rural and Community Hospitals (TORCH) for 16 years and served on the founding External Advisory Board of the HSC-SRPH until his death in 2006.

“Rural hospitals are experiencing unprecedented changes and require dynamic leaders to keep pace with the new consumer-driven health care marketplace,” said David Pearson, TORCH president and CEO. “TORCH is proud of the many fine individuals demonstrating administrative and professional excellence in our rural hospitals. We are pleased to establish the John F. Boff Endowed Scholarship and look forward to seeing the benefits of this scholarship reflected in the next generation of rural hospital CEOs.”

Ciro V. Sumaya, M.D., M.P.H.T.M., founding dean of the HSC-SRPH, said: “The generosity of TORCH and its member hospitals along with the Boff family in establishing this scholarship is a tremendous gift to the School, and one that will continue to benefit deserving young health care professionals for years to come.”

Jorge Ernesto Leal was awarded the first John F. Boff Scholarship.

“Mr. Leal is an outstanding example of the students in the School of Rural Public Health program,” Dr. Sumaya said. “The scholarship will provide a tremendous opportunity for the School’s students to get involved and learn how hospitals make a meaningful impact on the health of rural Texans.”

Founded in 1990, TORCH’s mission is to improve the health of rural populations and address the special issues, needs, and concerns affecting rural and community hospitals. The organization provides advocacy, educational and operational programs and services to approximately 200 rural and community hospitals serving more than three million people across Texas.

The HSC-SRPH was ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Top 25 public health schools in the nation.

The Texas A&M Health Science Center provides the state with health education, outreach and research. Its seven colleges located in communities throughout Texas are Baylor College of Dentistry, the College of Medicine, the College of Nursing, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Institute of Biosciences and Technology, the Irma Lerma Rangel College of Pharmacy, and the School of Rural Public Health.

— Rae Lynn Mitchell