(TEMPLE, TX) — Two fourth-year students from the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine recently were awarded Physicians of Tomorrow scholarships of $10,000 from the American Medical Association Foundation.

Rob Bour and Ervin Lowther were just two of 11 students from medical schools nationwide chosen for the scholarships.

The Physicians of Tomorrow scholarships were created in 2004 as part of an AMA Foundation effort to provide financial assistance to medical students facing medical school debt. Multiple scholarships, funded by the AMA Foundation (eight scholarships), the Audio-Digest Foundation (1), Johnson F. Hammond, M.D. Fund (1), and the Rock Sleyster, M.D. Fund (1) were awarded this year.

Mr. Lowther received an AMA Foundation-funded scholarship, which is given to promising fourth-year medical students selected for awards based on personal commitment, scholastic achievement and financial need. Mr. Bour’s scholarship was funded by the Audio-Digest Foundation, which awards a student with interests in “communication of science,” or mentoring and teaching.

Both students were surprised and honored with their awards.

“I was surprised just to be nominated for this scholarship,” Mr. Bour said. “I figured I was a long shot, so it is a huge honor to be recognized on the national level. And, it really comes at an amazing time for me personally. My wife and I have a 3-month-old son, and I’m traveling a lot in my fourth year, and both are very expensive.”

Mr. Bour believes his recognition was primarily for his role in organizing a Medical Economics elective course for classmates during his second year.

“The motivation for this course was to try and get my classmates more involved in reforming the practice of medicine,” Mr. Bour said. “The biggest barrier is that most of us don’t understand enough about the mechanics and economics of medicine. So, this 10-week course gave us a good foundation and made us more comfortable engaging in the debate. I’m proud to say that we had a great turnout – at least three quarters of the first- and second-year students took this elective.”

Mr. Lowther was honored to represent the HSC-COM by being nominated for the Physicians of Tomorrow scholarships.

“Since each medical school can only nominate one student for each of the four different types of AMA scholarships, I thought it was awesome just to be able to represent our school,” Mr. Lowther said. “When I received a voice mail from a lady at AMA, my first thought was that I hoped I hadn’t defaulted on my AMA student loan. But, when I talked to her, and she said I had been chosen for an award, I just started crying. It was such a great feeling.”

For Mr. Lowther, receiving the scholarship serves as confirmation his hard work is paying off.

“I feel like I always give 110 percent,” Mr. Lowther said. “It’s amazing to know that other people actually do notice how hard I work. I’m just so honored that when judged next to all the other nominated students across the country, they picked me. There are very few times in my life that I’ve been speechless, but when I try to talk about this, I really can’t. I’m just glad to be an ambassador for my school.”

— Marketing & Communications