College of Medicine receives $5 million gift for scholarships, attracting students
The College of Medicine has received a $5 million gift from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, the University announced Wednesday.
The gift will provide $3.5 million for scholarships and $1.5 million to create a pipeline program that aims to “attract and retain students from diverse backgrounds who have an interest in practicing primary care medicine,” according to a news release.
The $3.5 million scholarship fund will go toward $100,000 four-year scholarships to at least 35 medical students.
“The gift to the UH College of Medicine holds true to our focus on lowering health care costs through long-term, sustainable community investments,” said Dr. Dan McCoy, president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas in the news release. “This investment is about the future of health care. Primary care physicians will be the cornerstones of that future.”
A goal for the upcoming medical school is for at least half of each graduating class to practice primary care to “address the significant statewide shortage of physicians in underserved urban and rural communities where health disparities take their heaviest toll,” according to the news release.
To meet this target, the pipeline program is intended to target ethnically and socioeconomically diverse K-12 and pre-medicine college students with an interest in primary care.
The $1.5 million funding for the program will be used to hire a director of outreach and diversity who will study successful pipeline programs and promote hiring a diverse faculty.
Initial funding will also be provided to hire a faculty member to develop an academic support system that includes test-taking and study skills development, peer mentoring/tutoring and faculty mentorship training for student academic success.
“With a focus on improving health, we will educate physicians who will be able to provide a path to a productive and more enjoyable life for the residents of our city and state,” said President Renu Khator in the news release. “Recruiting and retaining the most diverse and academically competitive students, regardless of financial resources, is a top priority for our medical school.”