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ProMedica gives $500,000 to fund for medical students

Move aims to entice new doctors to practice locally

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Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, president of the University of Toledo, left, shakes hands with Randy Oostra, president and chief executive officer of ProMedica after signing an alliance that includes a new scholarship.

THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
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To financially help soon-to-be doctors willing to practice in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, ProMedica is donating $500,000 to start a scholarship fund that eventually will assist eight University of Toledo medical students at a time.

ProMedica and the UT medical school, the former Medical College of Ohio, established a graduate medical education alliance last year. They also have agreed to extend their original agreement past 2016 by automatically renewing for successive three-year terms. UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs along with other UT and ProMedica officials signed related contractual documents yesterday in his office for the Academic Health Center alliance.

The alliance partners will provide scholarships through the Better Together Scholarship Fund for eight medical students after an additional $4.5 million is raised. Two scholarship winners will be selected annually during the four years, and each will receive at least $25,000 a year for a maximum of $100,000.

The awards are not contingent on staying in the area for a set length of time.

Randy Oostra, ProMedica's president and chief executive officer, said the scholarship fund should help entice doctors to stay in the area.

"Even if they end up doing their residency program elsewhere, we want them back," said Dr. Jeffrey Gold, UT chancellor, executive vice president for biosciences and health affairs, and medical college dean.

Graduating U.S. medical students on average have more than $150,000 in debt, Dr. Gold said.

Automatically renewing the Academic Health Center agreement, meanwhile, proves just how far the partners have come in a year, leaders said.

Under the agreement, UT is managing resident programs at all ProMedica facilities and a board with members from both institutions oversees the alliance.

Not only are there more opportunities for UT residents and students in health-related fields, but the number of clinical trials and other research possibilities have increased, the partners said.

Efforts are geared both toward helping patients and recruiting doctors, they said.

Dr. Hanh Cottrell, a graduate of the former Medical College of Ohio, said the alliance has helped graduate medical education at ProMedica.

She is a second-year resident in obstetrics and gynecology doing part of her training at Toledo Hospital, and doctors there are on board with the alliance, she said.

Whether Dr. Cottrell remains in the Toledo area, where her parents and her husband's family live, remains to be seen.

"That's definitely high on the list," she said after the document-signing ceremony yesterday.

Contact Julie M. McKinnon at: jmckinnon@theblade.com or 419-724-6087.

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