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$1 million gift from KeyBank Foundation helps Cleveland Clinic medical students
The KeyBank Foundation and the Cleveland Clinic announced Wednesday a $1 million gift over five years to support the Key Bank Minority Medical Student Fellowships at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine of Case Western Reserve University.
This is the second $1 million gift from KeyBank. The fellowship was established in 2007 with an initial $1 million gift from the foundation to help cover tuition costs, living expenses and academic supplies for African American and Hispanic students, who make up about 20 percent of each 32-member medical school class.
Originally, the money was earmarked to pay tuition for minority students. But once the Clinicpicked up that cost for all students, the foundation money was used to help selected students with their living expenses and other costs.
'The rest of the KeyBank Foundation grant is being placed in the Clinic's endowment fund. Money from that fund covers tuition for all students (tuition for the present academic year is nearly $50,000) and to provide extra financial help for those who need it.
"There are some considerably smaller [gifts] from various individuals that help pay part of a scholarship, perhaps one year and sometimes longer, but nothing the size of the Key Bank award for scholarships," said Dr. Kathleen Franco, professor of medicine and psychiatry and associate dean of admissions and student affairs.
While both the Clinic and Key Bank would like to see as many of the medical students remain in Cleveland for their residency or return after their training, the larger issue is to provide the medical profession with black and Hispanic physicians who can aggressively address health care disparities, said KeyBank Foundation chairwoman Margot James Copeland.
"We did not hesitate to renew the grant request. We're pleased with the results," she said. "Wherever they go, they will have an impact on the lives of people."
The Cleveland Clinic Lerner College of Medicine is a partnership between the Clinic and CWRU.Twenty nine members of the inaugural class graduated from the five-year program in 2009. The program, which trains physician researchers, includes four years of study and one paid year of research.
Donelle Cummings, 27, of Saginaw, Mich., chose Cleveland for medical school in large part because he wanted to be able to incorporate research into his studies, just as he had done as an undergraduate student at the University of Michigan.
Receiving a tuition-free education from the Clinic and having living expenses covered from the first KeyBank fellowship has erased most of Cummings's money worries.
"It's really nice not to have that burden," said Cummings, who plans to apply for residencies in pathology, and hopes to stay in the Midwest. "It allowed me to consider specialties that I was more in love with."
The Clinic hopes that more medical students also consider primary care specialties such as pediatrics and internal medicine, where there is an acute shortage of doctors.
Since 2009, nearly a dozen graduates have remained at the Clinic for residency training. Two others who went elsewhere for residencies will be returning to the Clinic in 2012 -- one as a fellow in cardiology and one who will join the Clinic's pediatric program.