Did you know almost all counties in Alabama are in dire need of primary care physicians? Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama is attempting to change that fact by awarding 13 UAB medical students scholarships, on the condition they agree to practice as primary care or behavioral health physicians in underserved areas of Alabama after graduation.
The primary care health shortage is a real issue
According to both current and projected information from the Alabama Department of Public Health, rural areas can tend to have higher population growth, older residents and lower incomes than urban areas. Furthermore, a rural resident born today is expected to have a lifetime that is more than six months shorter than an urban resident born today.
These factors, among others, lead rural areas to have an intense need for primary care. Not only does it contribute to the community’s physical health, but having physicians causes the potential to boost the economy of the region by attracting more employers.
Addressing the issues
In order to bring better health care to these areas, the recipients of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s scholarships have agreed to bring their knowledge and expertise to underserved places in the state. Following their residency, these students will practice for at least three years in one of Alabama’s medically underserved counties.
“Primary care in Alabama is truly underserved. If you look at the health care shortages map provided by the Alabama Department of Public Health, you’ll see that almost all the counties in Alabama are in dire need of primary care physicians.
Scholarships like those provided by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama are a great way to encourage more students to pursue primary care as a career.”Anmol Ahuja, 2020 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama scholarship recipient
The company is investing in the future of their Primary Care Physician Network by making available $3.6 million in scholarships, over a five-year period, to the UAB School of Medicine.
Meet the students leading the charge
The scholarship will relieve the burden on recipients’ school debt and allow them to direct more energy toward their studies and purpose both in school and out. It also enables future doctors to follow their goals and aid communities who need it most.
Yesenia Lopez became interested in medicine after working at a family medicine clinic during high school. Throughout her college years, she volunteered at The Spirit of Luke, a mobile health clinic that provides free healthcare to rural areas. Those experiences helped solidify her decision to attend medical school and practice in underserved communities.
“Growing up in Crossville, AL served as a window that allowed me to notice the negative consequences of having limited medical resources. My goal as a physician is to help educate, prevent disease, and enhance the quality of life in patients. I believe the funding Blue Cross provides to medical students who are passionate about primary care will have a positive impact on the health of many communities.”Yesenia Lopez, 2020 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama scholarship recipient
Congratulations to all 13 recipients
We want to extend a big congratulations and wish best of luck to all of the amazing recipients of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama’s medical scholarship. With dedicated individuals like these, we know good things will come in the future.
- Anmol Ahuja Clanton, Alabama
- Austin Brooks Heflin, Alabama
- Chirag Patel Enterprise, Alabama
- Elizabeth “Bess” Butler Limestone, Alabama
- Hannah Howard Lowndesboro, Alabama
- Janison Hunter Cedar Bluff, Alabama
- Lee Butler Haleyville, Alabama
- Paul Morris Sylacauga, Alabama
- Robert Weaver Alexander City, Alabama
- Sean Bowman Indian Springs, Alabama
- Yesenia Lopez Crossville, Alabama
- Shannon Walker Madison, Alabama
- Renita Daniels Tuscaloosa, Alabama
“Congratulations to each of these exceptional medical students for being selected for this scholarship. I commend them for recognizing the importance of primary care and wanting to provide quality healthcare to those in many of the underserved areas of our state.”Tim Vines, President and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.