SAN ANTONIO (April 27, 2011) — Trustees of the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio this week brought welcome news — 57 scholarships totaling $215,000 — to students at the UT Health Science Center San Antonio.
Over the past six years, the foundation has donated $890,000 to the Health Science Center to assist 243 students.
“Today in Texas there is a tsunami of negative news about education. The long-standing recession and other factors have caused people to undervalue its positive effects,” said William L. Henrich, M.D., MACP, president of the Health Science Center. “Today we say thank you to the Baptist Health Foundation of San Antonio, a group that has stepped forward, no matter what the context, to stand with education.”
Katie Shao, third-year dental student, expressed gratitude for her scholarship “because it takes off the financial worry” of scrambling to find funds for books for the next semester. “The Baptist Health Foundation scholarship allows us to better focus on our education and reinforces our belief that God is behind us,” she said. “It strengthens my faith that God does provide.”
Amela Risvic, born in Bosnia, came to this country in 1997. She spoke no English and was six years behind when she entered the seventh grade. Now studying for a physician assistant master’s degree in the School of Health Professions, she spoke flawless English as she thanked the foundation board for supporting her professional education.
Matthew Pokorney, a clinical laboratory sciences student, said he is the first person in his family to attend college. “I feel fortunate to be selected for a scholarship because there are a lot of good students in our school,” he said.
Relieves students’ stress
Charles Reed, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the Health Science Center School of Nursing, said a scholarship helps allay emotions on “very late nights when we are in doubt” about going back for more education. Reed now seeks a Ph.D. in nursing.
Adam Mirek Mankowski, student in the School of Medicine, said the value of education was instilled by his parents, who emigrated from Poland to escape the communist system. He said a Baptist Health Foundation scholarship relieves financial stress so he can continue volunteer activities that are part of his medical education.
Mankowski serves in two student-run free clinics in Bexar County – one offered to women at the Alpha Home chemical dependency treatment center and the other to homeless families at the San Antonio Metropolitan Ministries (SAMM) Transitional Living and Learning Center.
Needs of infants
Tonya White, doctoral student in the School of Nursing, said she worked on a Baptist Health Foundation grant-funded project caring for babies with complex health care needs. “The time spent on this project has turned me into an advocate for this very special population,” she said.
Frank Elston, president and chief executive officer of the foundation, said: “Sometimes we wonder if we are doing what the Good Lord intended when we started the foundation in 2004. All we have to do is look around this room. We pray for each of you students.”
Proceeds from the 2003 sale of the Baptist Health System to Vanguard Health Systems were used to establish the foundation. Through last year, the foundation had granted $25 million in the community, Elston said.
Stepping to the plate
In 2010 trustees approved $4.8 million in disbursements. “This January we knew it was a tough year with the economy, and our trustees stepped up and voted to expend $5.6 million,” Elston said.
Mary Brogan, Scholarship Committee chair, announced the addition of four new scholarships for 2011 totaling $12,500, increasing this year’s total to $215,000 for 57 scholarships.
The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, one of the country’s leading health sciences universities, ranks in the top 3 percent of all institutions worldwide receiving U.S. federal funding. Research and other sponsored program activity totaled $228 million in fiscal year 2010. The university’s schools of medicine, nursing, dentistry, health professions and graduate biomedical sciences have produced approximately 26,000 graduates. The $744 million operating budget supports eight campuses in San Antonio, Laredo, Harlingen and Edinburg. For more information on the many ways “We make lives better®,” visit www.uthscsa.edu.