A Vanderbilt University Medical Center Alumni Publication

Vanderbilt Medicine

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Scholarships help attract leaders to medical school

By Jan Read
July 2011

People often associate scholarships with financial aid – helping students afford the cost of higher education – and at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, this rings true. But here, scholarships also help the School of Medicine. How? By enrolling the best and brightest students and turning them into tomorrow’s leaders and scholars.

“Scholarship programs target exemplary students with the potential to be great leaders,” says Bonnie Miller, M.D., senior associate dean for health sciences education.

The costs and debt associated with medical education continue to grow rapidly and contribute to challenges for students navigating an educational and career path. The average debt for Vanderbilt’s graduating students in 2010 was $126,700, which includes debt from their undergraduate education.

Scholarship awards not only ease the debt burden of future physicians but
permit the student to select a specialty according to expertise, interest and passion. A student’s financial aid package often includes scholarship support.

Philanthropy contributes significantly to the scholarship funds received by students each year, including the Canby Robinson Scholarship program. This year gifts from alumni, parents, foundations and other individuals enabled approximately $3 million in scholarship funds to be distributed. Contributions in any amount make a difference in the scholarship funds available. Additional scholarship support comes from School of Medicine institutional funds.

“Programs like the Canby Robinson Scholarships help us meet our mission of developing tomorrow’s leaders,” Miller says. “And when we talk about leadership, it’s not just in the practice of medicine. It’s also in research, in communities, in organizations. The strength of our program is proven by what our students do after medical school. We see these scholarships as an investment in the future of medicine.”

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