COVID-19 PANDEMIC CRISIS RESPONSE SCHOLARSHIP
Motivated by the profound impact of the COVID 19 pandemic on black communities, Inspire Youth Enrichment Foundation resolved to allocate resources to impact this urgent healthcare crisis.
We partnered with nonprofit ElevateMeD, to give a $50,000 grant to the University of Arizona on behalf of a student whose career will positively influence healthcare disparities.
A brilliant, compassionate, first-generation, black physician who was subsequently selected for a highly prestigious psychiatry residency at Yale University.
None of us could have anticipated the major challenges the COVID-19 pandemic would present. The world as we knew it was forever changed in March of 2020, and what began to unfold would magnify the deep-rooted disparities already present in society at large, and especially within our healthcare system. Among the numerous contributing factors, healthcare access and utilization stood out to us as an opportunity for both immediate and future impact.
During the pandemic, Blacks have been 2.4 times more likely to be hospitalized and 1.7 times more likely to die from COVID 19 than whites, according to the CDC.
What can we do? As an organization with a mission to facilitate educational opportunities that open doors to our future, we desired to plant a seed that would remove obstacles and ensure both clinically and culturally competent access to healthcare within the Black community. Our board decided to make an immediate educational investment in a Black medical student.
Mid 2020, we connected with ElevateMeD, a non-profit founded by Dr. Alyx Porter and Dr. Gregory Umphrey whose mission was to empower the next generation of Black, Latinx, and Native physicians. ElevateMeD had already successfully granted 10 students with $10,000 scholarships and support and was preparing to grant the next round of awards in May 2021.
We were drawn to Caylan Moore, a fourth-year medical student at the University of Arizona Tucson- School of Medicine. We learned that Caylan was a Phoenix native and a first-generation college graduate in pursuit of becoming a psychiatrist. His passion for psychiatry was shaped by personal experiences as a child and working as a Behavioral Health Technician. Despite many challenges along the way, Caylan persevered through medical school; the pandemic only made his passion to become a member of the physician workforce grow deeper.
Our goal? To lighten the weight of debt acquired during medical school to ensure that Caylan could focus on his goal to be an excellent psychiatrist serving his community.
“The pandemic affected my decision to continue medicine by reinforcing how bad doctors especially psychiatrists are needed. Watching people around me and nationally struggle with their mental health fueled my desire to be out providing mental health treatment.” -Caylan Bookman
In addition to Caylan’s $10,000 scholarship through Elevate MeD, Inspire granted an additional $50,000 to cover the full cost of one year’s tuition at his institution.
BLACK MALES MAKE UP LESS THAN 3% OF THE CURRENT PHYSICIAN WORKFORCE – ONE FACTOR IS THAT MEDICAL SCHOOL DEBT AVERAGES NEARLY $250,000.
“ This scholarship means much to me on different levels. Financially, it has helped decrease my student loan burden; therefore, lifting the financial burden of medical school. This scholarship was a representation of someone’s belief in me when I struggled to believe in myself. It has helped my journey by showing me that I deserve to be where I am and so as I progress in my career, I will carry that message with me.” – Caylan Bookman
Receiving the COVID-19 Pandemic Crisis Response Scholarship was a complete surprise to Caylan. The award was presented and the 2021 ElevateMeD annual fundraiser; watch the video below to see Caylan’s reaction…it was priceless!
Watch the presentation below:
ElevateMeD is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to elevating medicine by providing scholarships, mentorship, leadership training, and financial management education to future physicians from African-American/Black, Latinx, and Native American backgrounds. Through our Scholars Program, we aim to increase physician workforce diversity and improve cultural competence among physicians to reduce health disparities. Learn more about our mission and vision by visiting elevatemed.org and follow us on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @elevatemedinc.