Gift will cover full tuition for second class of students, help address physician shortage
The University of Texas at Tyler (UT Tyler) announced a $5 million gift to the School of Medicine from Ednamae Walsh. The gift will support scholarships and pathway programs for the medical school.
“This generous gift will create opportunities for students across the region in numerous ways,” said UT Tyler President Kirk A. Calhoun, MD, FACP. “Not only will it make a medical degree more affordable, but it will also make it more accessible through our programs designed to engage learners in health care professions as early as possible. I am eternally grateful to those who generously desire to help us address the health care needs of East Texas.”
As a result of this generosity, every student enrolled in the second class of the UT Tyler School of Medicine will receive a four-year scholarship to cover their full tuition. This follows the 2021 gift from the Fair Foundation covering full-tuition scholarships for the first School of Medicine class, which will enroll in fall 2023.
“I was excited to learn about the opportunity to be a part of the very beginning of the new medical school,” said Ednamae Walsh. “I grew up in a small town in Missouri and remembered well how hard it was to find a primary care physician when one was needed. I am glad to be a part of improving the opportunities to find medical care in rural communities.”
A portion of the gift will be used to support the School of Medicine’s Pathways Program. This program will assist in addressing the physician shortage in East Texas by coordinating pathways for students to enter medical school. According to a study by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the country will face a shortfall of up to 139,000 physicians by 2033.
The new pathways program will provide encouragement, support and direction for entering the health professions. Combining early enrichment and education with counseling, advising and early assurance and support initiatives, the program will create a seamless pipeline of intellectual and social enrichment, which will prepare students for entry into medical training, particularly in primary care and short-supply specialties.
“Our research shows that we need to improve health care access for people all across East Texas,” said Dr. Brigham Willis, founding dean of the School of Medicine. “This gift allows us to implement programs for our East Texas students to gain early access to the fundamental tools of medicine.”
This support comes after the Robert M. Rogers Foundation $10 million gift to support mental and behavioral health education.