Five students from PCOM were recently named National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholars for 2014. From Philadelphia, the winners were (left, from left to right): Katelyn Brendel (DO ’18), Robert Gadomski (DO ’17) and Claire Bogan, (DO ’18) . From GA-PCOM, the winners were (below right, from left to right): Sandra Sheffield (DO ’18), and Nichole Love (DO ’17).
The scholarship pays tuition, fees, other educational costs, and provides a stipend in return for a commitment to work (in the approved profession for which the scholar is awarded) at least two years at an NHSC-approved site in an underserved community. Service begins after graduation (and completion of primary care residency training). The NHSC has thousands of approved sites (i.e., federally qualified health center, rural health clinic, tribal or urban Indian health clinic or public health department) located in urban, rural and frontier communities across the U.S.
The Corps will provide technical support to scholars as they search for the site and community that is right for them. While serving, scholars earn a competitive salary and benefits, which is paid by the NHSC-approved site.
The NHSC Scholarship application process is highly competitive; this year, there were more than 1,800 applications from hundreds of schools from across the country. Approximately 10 percent of the applicants received the scholarship award, and five of them are from PCOM. As a result of this impressive showing, the College is ranked among the top 20 schools with NHSC scholarship awardees.
In order to be considered for the scholarship, applicants must above all demonstrate a commitment to primary care and to delivering it in underserved communities, along with an interest to serve beyond completion of their NHSC service requirements. Ms. Bogan, who received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers-Camden, said that during her community service activities there, she saw how many families struggled with trauma associated with poverty. “That solidified my desire to work in an underserved community,” she says.
PCOM has consistently had a strong showing in the NHSC scholarship program. Charmaine Chan, DO ’05, was named a scholar while a student at PCOM, and found her time in the program invaluable.
“After I landed the scholarship, my career took the road less traveled,” Dr. Chan explains. “I chose to go to a Navajo reservation in New Mexico. The majority of our elderly patients spoke only Navajo, requiring us to work with interpreters. I did full-spectrum family medicine, worked in a school-based health center, and explored the Southwest in my spare time. I was doing ‘international’ medicine right in the middle of the U.S.” (Read more about Dr. Chan’s experience with the NHSC.)
“Far too many people in the U.S. have limited access to health care services, and members of the NHSC help bridge this gap by practicing in communities that have a shortage of primary care health professionals,” says Capt. Jeanean Willis-Marsh, the Bureau of Health Workforce’s Division of National Health Service Corps Director. “Our scholarship program offers health professions students an opportunity to follow their passion to become a primary care provider while receiving funding for their education. In return, students commit to practice at an approved NHSC site in underserved communities in urban, rural and frontier areas across the country. A vast majority of these students continue to practice in these communities long after their NHSC commitment has ended."
For more information on the NHSC, please visit: http://nhsc.hrsa.gov/.
Founded in 1899, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine has trained thousands of highly competent, caring physicians, health practitioners and behavioral scientists who practice a “whole person” approach to care—treating people, not just symptoms. PCOM offers doctorate degrees in educational psychology, osteopathic medicine, pharmacy, physical therapy and psychology, and graduate degrees in aging and long-term care administration, biomedical sciences, forensic medicine, mental health counseling, organizational development and leadership, physician assistant studies and school psychology. Our students learn the importance of health promotion, research, education and service to the community. Through its community-based Healthcare Centers, PCOM provides care to medically underserved populations in inner-city and rural locations. For more information, visit pcom.edu.
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