UNC School of Medicine receives $3 million gift from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to support primary care medical scholarship program

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has received a $3 million gift from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust for a scholarship program aimed at inspiring North Carolina’s best medical students to pursue careers in primary care medicine in rural and urban underserved areas of the state.

UNC School of Medicine receives $3 million gift from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust to support primary care medical scholarship program click to enlarge Richard M. Krasno, PhD

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The University of North Carolina School of Medicine has received a $3 million gift from the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust for a scholarship program aimed at inspiring North Carolina’s best medical students to pursue careers in primary care medicine in rural and urban underserved areas of the state.

The Trustees of the Kenan Charitable Trust make this gift in honor of Richard M. Krasno, PhD for his influential development of this program, for his fifteen years of exemplary service as executive director of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, and for his highly respected tenure on, and leadership of, the UNC Health Care Board of Directors.

The gift establishes the William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment.  With this gift, the Sarah Graham Kenan Rural and Underserved Medical Scholars Program becomes The Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program.  The program is funded from the new William R. Kenan, Jr. Endowment Fund and from the existing Sarah Graham Kenan Scholarship Fund.

The goal of The Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars Program is to increase the number of UNC School of Medicine students pursuing careers in rural and urban underserved areas of North Carolina by providing financial support and enriched educational opportunities. The program will be collaboratively run by the School of Medicine and Mountain Area Health Education Center (MAHEC) in Asheville.

“We are very thankful to the Kenan Charitable Trust for their generous support of this important program,” said William L. Roper, MD, MPH, dean of the UNC School of Medicine.  “Over the last two years we have successfully piloted many components of the program and are excited to do even more to support medical careers in rural and urban underserved areas of our state.”

The program selects first-year medical students who have experience living or working in rural or urban underserved communities, have excellent academic records and are committed to residency training in family medicine, primary care medicine, community pediatrics, general surgery or psychiatry. These scholars spend their core clinical year at one of the UNC School of Medicine regional campuses.  The rural scholars will be educated at the Regional Campus in Asheville and the urban scholars will be at the Regional Campus in Charlotte.

Kenan scholarships will support the second, third and fourth years of medical school and reduce student debt by a total of $30,000 per student.  Kenan funds will provide additional debt reduction for placement in a North Carolina residency in primary care, general surgery or psychiatry and for placement in practice in rural and urban underserved communities in North Carolina.

“Our School of Medicine is ranked No. 2 in the nation for primary care and this program will strengthen our efforts in primary care training to even better serve the people of North Carolina,” Roper continued.

Last summer, the inaugural class of seven students participated in six-week internships in western North Carolina.  This summer eight Kenan Primary Care Medical Scholars are conducting internships in western North Carolina and in Charlotte.

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