A Future Without Limits

February 3, 2012

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Senior vice president and dean Ray Watts speaks at the Scholarship Dinner in January.

A great medical education benefits physicians for a lifetime, but paying for it can sometimes last just as long.

Affording medical school is a concern for all of our students. The financial burden of education can place limits on what and where future physicians practice, and ultimately, patients and communities pay the price. An investment in our students today will pay dividends in the future, in the form of better, more accessible care for Alabamians.

At the beginning of this academic year, the School of Medicine began matching—dollar for dollar—all contributions from alumni for medical student scholarships. Working with the Medical Alumni Association as well as the School of Medicine annual fund team, we have generated $49,367 in commitments for new scholarship funds as of January 30, 2012, and more is coming in every week. The match doubles that total to nearly $100,000 for our students.

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Darryl Outlaw shares the Burlesons' story at the Scholarship Dinner. See a photo slideshow from the event.

Following an Example

Your support for scholarships is invaluable, and the fact that alumni are involved is not lost on our students. Last month, at our annual Scholarship Dinner, first-year student Darryl Outlaw spoke about his mother’s and grandfather’s battles with cancer, and how their health care teams inspired him to see the “true power, potential, and purpose of medicine.” However, he said he gained a deeper appreciation once he was accepted to our school and received the scholarship set up by Dr. Paul Burleson and his wife, Martha. Dr. Burleson began his education at the Medical College of Alabama in the 1930s and later graduated from George Washington University. After returning to Birmingham, he served on the UAB faculty for 35 years as an internal medicine specialist. Through the scholarship, the Burlesons have “truly made a tremendous impact on my life,” Darryl said. “It has removed much of the stress and worry, allowing me to focus on becoming a better student and hopefully developing myself to become a better servant to my patients so that I can try to follow the example of Dr. Burleson and countless other physicians who have given so much to the field.” 

We heard from other students that night who shared their stories, their excitement about their education, and their ambitions for the future. First-year student Toral Patel talked about her desire to teach, conduct research, and travel overseas to provide medical care. Third-year student Edwin Mwakalindile aims for a primary care practice in an urban setting, following in the footsteps of his father, a physician's assistant in a poverty-stricken city in Tanzania. They, and dozens more like them, enjoyed the opportunity to meet with and thank their scholarship donors in person.

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Mandi Alexander

Introducing Mandi Alexander

This year’s Scholarship Dinner was a success thanks to the efforts of Mandi Alexander, our new major gifts officer for scholarships. She comes to the School of Medicine from the University of South Florida College of Engineering, where she served as associate director for development. Here she will lead our initiatives to expand the pool of scholarship dollars available to our students and to secure investments in our Montgomery Internal Medicine Residency Program and our planned School of Medicine campus there, and we are glad to have her on board.

A Chance to Change Lives

There is no better time to contribute to School of Medicine scholarships. With our match, you will double your investment and make a difference in the education and careers of our students. Darryl Outlaw said that he has learned that the medical field is about changing lives and serving others. I encourage you to do both by supporting a scholarship .

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Sincerely,


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