Two PCOM South Georgia Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) students will no longer bear the burden of medical school debt.
Yesenia Stephens (DO ‘24) and Jasmine Rogers (DO ‘23) recently received scholarships from the National Health Service Corps (NHSC) Scholarship Program. These scholarships will pay the tuition for their complete medical education. According to its website, NHSC awards scholarships to students pursuing eligible primary care health professions training. In return, the scholars commit to providing primary care health services in areas determined as Health Professional Shortage Areas by the NHSC. For each year of medical school, scholarship recipients must provide the NHSC with yearly transcripts that prove they are attending and passing all classes.
Before entering medical school, Stephens worked in research roles with various underserved and vulnerable populations. And after completing medical school and a residency in primary care, she will be back to serving in the rural communities she loves as a physician.
“I’ll go wherever I’m needed,” she said of her future career. “I worked in rural communities throughout Florida, and I was really happy doing that.”
Like many students, Stephens had the stress of succeeding in medical school as well as paying for it. After researching and applying to a number of scholarships, she was awarded the NHSC scholarship, which will pay for all four years of her education at PCOM South Georgia, in addition to monthly stipends.
“I’m so grateful,” she said. “It relieves so much stress because there really aren’t a lot of scholarships available for medical students. Instead of worrying about finances, I’ll be able to focus more on studying.”
“I was so ecstatic to receive this scholarship,” Rogers said. “Medical school debt can amount to $250,000 or more, so to have the final three years of my medical education paid for relieves that stressor for me.”
For every year of medical school paid, scholarship recipients commit to one year practicing in health professional shortage areas. Rogers said the partnership with NHSC is a win-win, as her plan has always been to practice medicine in underserved communities after graduation.
“This scholarship makes sure I get placed in those areas where the need for physicians is highest,” she said. “That’s a goal of mine and a goal of the NHSC.”
Upon graduation in 2023, Rogers will spend four years in residency and then be able to select her location from the list of health professional shortage areas from NHSC. Her desire is to become a primary care physician specializing in OB/GYN.
Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM) extended its commitment to the Southeast by establishing PCOM South Georgia, an additional teaching location in Moultrie, Georgia, which offers a full four-year medical program leading to the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (DO) degree. In addition, a Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences will be offered beginning in August 2020. PCOM is a private, not-for-profit institution which trains professionals in the health and behavioral sciences fields. Joining PCOM Georgia in Suwanee in helping to meet the healthcare needs of the state, PCOM South Georgia focuses on educating physicians for the South Georgia region. The medical campus, which welcomed its inaugural class of medical students on August 12, 2019, has received accreditation from the American Osteopathic Association's Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation. For more information, visit pcom.edu/southgeorgia or call 229-668-3110.
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