The physician organization that is the majority owner of Roper St. Francis Healthcare System has established a new scholarship fund to benefit doctors-in-training at MUSC.
The Medical Society of South Carolina established the Roper St. Francis Physicians Scholars Fund with a gift to the MUSC Foundation. It is the first scholarship at MUSC to be established by the society, which was founded in 1789 and whose membership today consists exclusively of physicians affiliated with Roper St. Francis.
Although the society's gift was charitable in nature, it was pragmatic in intent, said the group's president, Stan Wilson, M.D.
"In our view, the high cost of a medical education is preventing too many gifted students from pursuing a career in medicine," said Wilson. "We see this as a way to ensure that Roper St. Francis and every other hospital in South Carolina can continue to recruit talent from a well trained pool of physicians."
The Office for Healthcare Workforce Analysis and Planning published a report in October 2011 suggesting that South Carolina's rapidly growing and aging population would place a serious burden on its health care system in the years to come. The report concluded that the state would need to recruit, train and retain more physicians in order to meet anticipated demand.
Unfortunately, the job of recruiting these students has become increasingly difficult in South Carolina, where scholarship support is in short supply and tuition has been driven upward by several consecutive years of state budget cuts, said MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D.
"The cost of medical education is becoming a real barrier to many students entering the field, and it affects career choices beyond graduation," said Greenberg. "The Medical Society wisely saw this as a challenge to the long-term viability of the Lowcountry's medical delivery system and came to us with a tangible and practical solution."
For each of the next four years, the Roper St. Francis Physicians Scholars program will offer one full scholarship and two half scholarships to in-state students from each entering class. Scholarship recipients will continue to receive financial support throughout their four-year training period, provided they maintain sufficiently high grades.
When fully implemented, the program will provide four full scholarships and eight half scholarships on an ongoing basis.
College of Medicine Dean Etta Pisano, M.D., said MUSC is grateful for the opportunity to partner with the Medical Society of South Carolina at this level.
"This is an inspiring commitment to help the next generation of medical practitioners, and it is a great example of how community physicians and MUSC can partner together for the benefit of the entire community."