Case Western Reserve University will be an essential partner in a new medical education pipeline created and supported by the Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation.
Announced at last evening's White Coat Ceremony at the Cleveland School of Science and Medicine at John Hay Campus (CSSM), the first phase of the Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation's Health Profession Pipeline Program is the creation of the Edwards Scholarship Endowment at Case Western Reserve. An initial investment of $10 million to $12 million over 10 years will establish an endowment for full-tuition scholarships for students to earn bachelor and medical degrees at Case Western Reserve.
Beginning in 2011, the Health Profession Pipeline Program will provide this scholarship opportunity to one student per year from CSSM. The program has the potential to educate 98 doctors from traditionally underrepresented minority and low-income backgrounds over the next 60 years through a potential total investment of up to $90 million.
As part of the effort, members of the Case Western Reserve community and physicians at UH Case Medical Center will provide academic programming and individual mentoring to students at CSSM.
"Case Western Reserve University is honored to be a part of this visionary pipeline project," says President Barbara R. Snyder. "One of our core values is diversity, and this program provides a wonderful opportunity to support promising students and at the same time meet a critical societal need."
The Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation was created by a bequest from the Joan C. Edwards Trust in 2006 at the time of Mrs. Edwards' death. Mrs. Edwards was a philanthropist and former jazz singer. Her husband, James, who died in 1991, was owner and CEO of National Mattress Company in Huntington, W.Va., where the couple lived most of their lives.
The foundation considered Cleveland to be an ideal candidate for this program because of the presence of a science and medicine school like CSSM and nationally ranked Case Western Reserve University and its School of Medicine and UH Case Medical Center. It was also drawn to the area because so many surrounding Cleveland neighborhoods have been designated as Health Professional Shortage Areas by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
"Mrs. Edwards believed deeply in the importance of giving underrepresented minority and low-income students greater opportunities to become physicians, and that they in turn could provide medical care to underserved populations," says Thomas M. McDonald, Cleveland distribution director for the Joan C. Edwards Charitable Foundation. "The foundation believes these goals will be best achieved by enabling partners in public schools, university education and health care to build on their already strong collaborative relationships."
The foundation hopes that the Cleveland pipeline program will be a successful model for others nationwide.