Vanderbilt Magazine

UPDATED: School of Medicine invests in future of health care with Dean’s Scholarship Challenge

Dr. Jeff Balser, dean of the School of Medicine and president and CEO of VUMC (Vanderbilt University)

At the beginning of 2022, the School of Medicine launched a $5 million Dean’s Scholarship Challenge to help ensure that tomorrow’s leaders in medicine are educated at Vanderbilt. The success of the early months of the effort has prompted the university to boost the available matching funds by $5 million.

“The COVID-19 pandemic illustrates the importance of investing in the next generation of physician leadership,” says Jeff Balser, MD’90, PhD’90, dean of the School of Medicine and president and CEO of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “We have witnessed the transformational impact of Vanderbilt-trained clinicians delivering innovative treatment throughout the region and developing life-saving vaccines and therapies in record time.”

The challenge, which runs through the end of the year, encourages donors to make major gifts to new or existing endowed scholarship funds at the School of Medicine. To date, 22 donors have contributed approximately $4.1 million in qualifying gifts.

“I believe that scholarships to lighten the financial debt that physicians-in-training often accrue can allow them to focus on their studies and professional goals,” says Jamie Monroe, MD’88. “I am delighted to join this challenge that will optimize my contribution for such a purpose.”

Funds will support students in the M.D. Program, as well as the school’s dual-degree programs. Successful completion of the challenge will provide a total of $20 million in scholarship funds, providing approximately $1 million in scholarship awards to medical students.

Duc Pham, MD’98, received the Canby Robinson Scholarship as a student. He and his wife, Tam Le, have generously supported the Dean’s Scholarship Challenge, building upon their earlier gifts.

Dr. Donald W. Brady, senior associate dean for health sciences education (Vanderbilt University)

“Without scholarships, I could not have afforded the education. I would have been deterred, I would not be a doctor today,” Pham says. “Those scholarships were life-changing for me. Now I am saying ‘thank you’ to the people who established those scholarships.”

“Scholarships are paramount to our recruitment of the best students,” says Donald Brady, BA’86, MD’90, senior associate dean for health science education. “When we lose students to our medical school peers, it is usually for financial reasons.”

Endowed gifts of $100,000 or more pledged over a maximum of five years are eligible to be matched. For more information, contact Taylor Wood at 615-343-5648.