Scholarships are a pathway for high-performing students from underserved and less privileged backgrounds to gain access to education, training and opportunities they otherwise might not be able to afford. They are also a means for a university to recruit students.
Three University of Arizona Health Sciences faculty members and their families have established student scholarships to support the training of future professionals, helping to grow and expand the field.
While the university offers many general internal and external scholarship opportunities for students, these faculty members are motivated to support the education and training of students in their focus areas. They are going beyond the status quo by funding and fundraising for scholarships to ensure students in their colleges have access to high-quality training and learning opportunities.
International training for pharmacy students
Ivo Abraham, PhD, RN, a professor in the Department of Pharmacy Practice and Science in the UArizona R. Ken Coit College of Pharmacy, and his wife Karen M. MacDonald, PhD, RN, established the Abraham-MacDonald PharmD International Clinical Rotation Award and the Abraham-MacDonald Graduate Student International Research Award in 2013.
The research award supports students pursuing a doctorate in pharmaceutical sciences to participate in research or research training in a foreign country. Both awards require that the rotation or research take place in a country classified by the World Bank as low income, lower-middle income or upper-middle income.
“With the rotation award, we wanted to create an alternative for students to gain experience in other countries,” said Abraham, who joined the College of Pharmacy in a part-time capacity in 2009 and went full-time in 2011. “A lot of them are also first-generation college students, and we really wanted to create opportunities for them to have the possibility of doing international rotations. And the research award was meant to stimulate more international lab-to-lab collaborations.”
To date, the rotation award has distributed $24,900 to 19 students, and the research award has granted $14,044 to four students. Awards ranged from $700 to a maximum of $5,000 per student with the amounts based on the student’s proposed budget. Both awards are funded entirely by Abraham and MacDonald with a total commitment of $100,000.
Supporting global health student scholars
Iman Hakim, MBBCh, PhD, MPH, dean and professor in the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, founded the Global Health Institute in 2009. The institute’s mission is to address global health disparities and offer solutions through education, research and health diplomacy by training a strong and culturally competent workforce.
Hakim established the Michael Mikhael Family Global Health Fund – which she named after her husband Michael Mikhael, PhD – in 2011 to aid in fostering global health equity and provide a well-trained global health workforce. The fund supports student exchange internships, global health research opportunities, building workforce capacity through training and education, and funding for international meetings. Since it began, Hakim has donated $27,000 to the fund which has granted scholarships to a dozen students.
Earlier this year, Hakim, who is also an endowed chair in the Zuckerman College of Public Health, started an endowment to fund the Iman Hakim and Michael Mikhael Global Health Institute Scholars Award for students participating in the GHI Scholars program. “I wanted to have an endowment that we can build on and where there will always be funding available for the GHI Scholars,” Hakim said.
“This scholarship will allow undergraduate and graduate students to do their global health internships or their dissertation research in a global setting to gain valuable experience,” she said. “Can you just imagine how this will change the world when you have people who really understand public health from a global perspective, and they know how to fix the unfixable?”
Currently, the endowment is being funded by Hakim and her family, however she encourages others wishing to support global health students to make a donation and help them reach their goal. To date, the family has contributed approximately $30,000 with a goal of $75,000 in three years.
Endowments ensure that the causes donors wish to support will have stable, lasting support year after year. Jing Liu, assistant dean for finance and administration in the College of Public Health, said Hakim’s scholarship will start awarding students in 2024.
Hakim said anticipated scholarship payments will be around $2,500 per student.
Scholarships for students underrepresented in medicine
The UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion has been honored for promoting a culture of inclusion in recent years thanks in part to the leadership of former Dean Guy Reed, MD, MS. With the help of the college’s award-winning Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the college embeds diversity into all aspects of its educational endeavors.
In fact, in 2022, Michael D. Dake, MD, the senior vice president for the University of Arizona Health Sciences, noted that the college’s classes of 2025 and 2026 represent “the largest, most academically accomplished and most diverse classes in the college’s history.”
With this kind of commitment to inclusive excellence, faculty who see a DEI gap or need can feel emboldened to act knowing they will have support from those in leadership positions.
“The scholarship has made a difference in my life, and I look forward to the day that I can pay forward this very kind gesture.”
Ariana Cano, second-year medical student and a URM Scholarship recipient
Wayne J. Franklin, MD, FACC, professor of child health, medicine, obstetrics and gynecology at the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, co-director and Robinson Family Endowed Chair of the Phoenix Children’s Center for Heart Care and associate director of the Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program at Phoenix Children’s, said he believes “a healthy community starts with excellent local doctors.”
In October 2021, Franklin launched a grassroots campaign to fund the Underrepresented in Medicine Scholarship. In just six weeks he exceeded his goal of $25,000. The College of Medicine – Phoenix matched it for a total of $50,942 that went directly toward helping underrepresented in medicine students. The campaign was re-launched in fall 2022 and another $43,964 was raised including matching funds by the college.
Now in its third year, the scholarship provides financial support for the recruitment of diverse medical students to enroll at the college. Senior director of development Liz Kaplan and financial aid services director Justin Jimenez, both at the College of Medicine – Phoenix, reported that nine underrepresented in medicine students have received scholarships ranging from $5,000-$10,000 to the college to date, with funds still available for an additional student.
Ariana Cano, a second-year medical student at the college and a recipient of the URM Scholarship said it helped relieve some of the burden of her medical school costs and she appreciated the support and encouragement she received from the donors. “It is meaningful to me that the URM scholarship helps underrepresented students to continue reaching their goal of becoming a physician. The scholarship has made a difference in my life, and I look forward to the day that I can pay forward this very kind gesture,” she said.
Fourth-year medical student and URM Scholarship recipient Daniela Parga said she was “profoundly grateful” to receive the award. “As a woman in medicine and a Latina, this achievement fills me with immense pride, knowing that it contributes to enhancing diversity in the medical field and better representing our wonderfully diverse Arizona patient population,” said Parga.
Inspired by these young students, Franklin said he is motivated to empower them along the way. “Hopefully, these students will return to their community and provide motivation and assistance for younger students coming along after them. I found that the higher one climbs in academia, in health care administration and in leadership, the less diverse it gets. I also feel it is part of my duty to help others rise and succeed so that we may continue to have more diverse seats at the table.”
The Abraham-MacDonald PharmD International Clinical Rotation Award and the Abraham-MacDonald Graduate Student International Research Award are privately funded by Abraham and MacDonald.
Help power student access to global health experiences. You can increase the impact of the Iman Hakim and Michael Mikhael Global Health Institute Scholars Award by giving online.
Donations to the Underrepresented in Medicine Scholarship can be made online.