Elizabeth Blackwell overcame numerous hurdles to become the first woman to graduate from medical school in the United States. That was in 1849. Today, the only hurdle most women have to becoming medical doctors is financing. Potential doctors spend four years getting an undergraduate degree and then spend several years more with medical school, an internship and a residency. By the time they are M.D.s, they have racked up tens of thousands of dollars in educational costs. Fortunately, women can avail themselves of plenty of scholarship opportunities.
Colleges and medical schools provide prime opportunities for scholarships. Scholarship seekers should make good friends with their college’s financial aid office for information on internal and external scholarships. Most of the scholarships are open to both sexes, but diligent researchers will find scholarships open only to women. One such scholarship is the Edith SeVille Coale Medical Scholarship, offered by Johns Hopkins University Medical School. Applicants must have completed their first year of medical school and be planning to practice medicine, become a surgeon or do medical research once they have their M.D.s.
Associations, where the majority of members are women doctors, are also good sources for scholarship funds. Their goal is to see more women succeed in medicine. One such association is the American Medical Women’s Association, which sponsors two $1,000 scholarships for women medical students. Applicants must be members of the association and enrolled in medical school.
The American Medical Association, in conjunction with the AMA Women Physicians Congress, awards the Joan F. Giambalvo Memorial Scholarship. The scholarship’s goal is to advance women in the medical profession. Information does not specify only women may apply, but only one man has won this scholarship since 2007.
Civic groups and organizations are also good sources for women-only scholarships. For example, the PEO Foundation offers the Ruth G. White scholarship in honor of a past president of the California chapter of PEO. Applicants must be residents of California but can attend medical school anywhere in the United States. Plus, they must have completed one year of medical school.
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) also awards financial aid to women studying in certain professions, of which medicine is one.
Minority women studying medicine can easily find scholarship opportunities. The AAUW awards a special scholarship for minority women in its selected professions assistance. Another group, the Association of Black Women's Physicians, awards the Rebecca Lee, M.D., scholarship in honor of the first black woman physician in the United States. Applicants must be southern California residents or enrolled in medical schools located in southern California.
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