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State Medical Association Awards Medical Scholarship


Medical StudentsdMONTGOMERY – Rising seniors in medical school are often faced with mixed emotions – the joy of soon-to-be new graduates and moving one step closer to achieving their dreams of becoming practicing physicians, and the challenge of finding a residency program that will be a perfect match for them academically and psychologically. Students will often travel across the state to across the country to find a residency program to meet their needs. The financial burden of this search can be overbearing.
The Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama wanted to help these rising medical scholars take their next step on their educational journey by creating an enduring scholarship to assist with travel and expenses while on the search for their residency programs.
“As a member of the medical family and having experienced this difficult situation with my husband many years ago when he was a rising senior, it was very important to me that we find a way to support medical students enrolled in a training program in our state,” said Nita Maddox, immediate past Scholarship Fund Chair for the Alliance. “Trying to find a residency is a most difficult time for medical students, and our hope is that the Alliance and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama can provide support for students proving that we care about them when they need a hand most. It is also a great tool to introduce these students to what we do with the hope they will participate in organized medicine when they start their practice.”
The first scholarship, awarded through The Medical Foundation of Alabama and funded through joint efforts of the Alliance and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama, was awarded this year to Robert Levy of Birmingham. Levy earned his undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences at The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa before completing a year of ophthalmology research at the University of Alabama Birmingham. Levy, who is currently attending the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, already has plans for the scholarship money.
“Because I chose ophthalmology, a very competitive field to apply to, I will be applying to around 60 schools. At $35 per application, this will cost more than $2,000 in application fees alone,” Levy explained. “Hopefully I will get quite a few interviews. Depending on how many interviews I attend, I will most likely have to take out even more loans called ‘Residency Relocation Loans.’ Those applying to the ophthalmology specialty, along with other very competitive specialties, will likely have to spend $5,000 to $10,000 on airfare and accommodations. These loans have outrageous interest rates but are the only option for many people like me. I hope to match anywhere that will take me right now, but my ideal location is the Southeast. As you can imagine the Alliance scholarship has given me the opportunity to apply to more programs to enhance my chance at obtaining a residency in ophthalmology.”
Representatives of the Alliance first approached MASA in 2010 about joining resources to create a scholarship fund for Alabama’s future physicians. Previously, the Alliance had participated in the American Medical Association Alliance’s program to raise scholarship funds that were then distributed back to Alabama’s medical schools. For decades, the Alliance was second in the nation in fund raising for the scholarship fund, but changes in the way the AMA Foundation accepted donations prompted the Alliance to look for alternatives.
“The Alliance has a long heritage of giving back to medical students with scholarships supporting them in medical school. We realize that times have changed and the avenues of giving are no longer valid for us, yet the need is still there. It has taken the Alliance years of effort and the support and giving of MASA to provide this scholarship. It is our hope that the giving will continue to be a priority for physician families, and that we will be able to provide support at a time in need for students,” Maddox said.
Applications for the Alliance scholarship may be obtained from the Dean’s Office in Alabama’s medical schools. The scholarship will be awarded annually during MASA’s Annual Session each spring.
The Medical Association of the State of Alabama, the oldest and largest organization representing physicians and medicine in Alabama, exists to serve, lead and unite physicians in promoting the highest quality of healthcare for the people of Alabama through advocacy, information and education.
The Alliance to the Medical Association of the State of Alabama is an affiliate group of MASA’s physician spouses that assists in programs for the advancement of preventive medicine and securing adequate medical legislation. Since 1923, the Alliance has worked in partnership with MASA to promote health education and support health-related charitable endeavors.


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