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Donor-based scholarships cover half of Hopkins medical students’ typical expenses

Financial aid helps medical scholars have an impact today and in the future
Posted March 30, 2017

Derick Ansah, Class of 2020, at the Simulation Center

Tania Haag, Class of 2018, on her pediatric rotation Tania Haag, Class of 2018, on her pediatric rotation

The 120 stellar, first-year students who enter the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine every year come from diverse backgrounds and plan for impressive futures, but for many of them, receiving scholarships can be a defining factor in their success.

For example, Madhavi Duvvuri, Class of 2019, says financial considerations played a big role in her deciding where to attend medical school. For the 2016-2017 academic year, she received support from the Dr. Edward M. and Marcella Finesilver Memorial Scholarship Fund; the Edwards A. Park Scholarship Fund; and the Douglas G. Carroll, Jr., Student Aid Fund.

"It's always been a dream of mine to become a doctor. Receiving scholarships to pursue that dream has been an incredible gift that I'll forever be grateful for," says Duvvuri, who is currently also developing a drug-eluting stent to combat laryngotracheal fibrosis, scarring that can occur with intubation and interferes with swallowing and breathing.

Currently, the School of Medicine can provide donor-funded scholarships to only 54 percent of medical students, and the annual award averages $34,000, about half of the typical expenses.

That's why, as part of Rising to the Challenge: The Campaign for Johns Hopkins, the School of Medicine is working to increase scholarship support to better meet the needs of students and allow them to pursue specialties based on passion, not the potential to pay off debt.

The latter rings true for Derick Ansah, Class of 2020, and a Davis Family Foundation Scholar, whose volunteering with Student Sight Savers, giving free vision screens to those in need, has ignited a passion for ophthalmology. A native of Ghana, he plans to eventually work internationally with organizations like Doctors Without Borders.

"It would be a great chance for me to pay forward a lot of the goodwill that's been expressed to me in terms of scholarships and opportunities to advance myself in life," he says.

Second-career students Tania Haag, Class of 2018, and Alex Pasciak, PhD, Class of 2019, were also concerned about debt.

"I will graduate with fewer loans than I would have had I gone anywhere else. It is going to allow me to pursue primary care as a career," says Haag, the Joseph C. Eggleston Memorial Scholar, whose experience with Teach for America pushed her toward pediatric medicine.

Pasciak – a new father who decided he could not take on additional debt – receives the Drs. Beth and Warren Bromberg Scholarship; the James L. Frost, M.D. and Alice E. Frost Endowed Scholarship; and the David R. Weakley, M.D., Scholarship. He believes interventional radiology's minimally invasive techniques to treat conditions like aneurysms will be the future of medicine.

With heartfelt gratitude, Rafael Arias, Class of 2018, a Johns Hopkins Medicine Scholar, says of his donors, "If it weren't for you, I wouldn't be here in the first place. I feel like you've changed my life for the better. I want to thank you a lot for that, and somehow later on, in the future, pass it forward." Arias's decision to become a doctor was inspired by his uncle, a physician who treated the poor in his village in El Salvador for free.

To learn how you can make a gift to support School of Medicine scholarships, please contact Chad Newill, Sr. Director of Development via email or call 410-361-6561.