The Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education & Research (SWFOER) held their first quarterly Board of Trustees meeting at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM), and welcomed two new board members: Don Marketto III, DO, and Guillermo Hernandez Jr., DO.
SWFOER, founded in 2016 out of the dormant New Mexico Osteopathic Foundation, aims to provide financial support and scholarships to medical students at BCOM, with an ultimate goal of encouraging the future physicians to work in rural areas and health care shortage areas in the region after graduation. Local physician Bill Baker, DO, is serving as chairperson of the SWFOER Board of Trustees. Other board members include Ralph McClish, executive director of the New Mexico Osteopathic Medical Association; John Hummer, BCOM co-founder and president; George Mychaskiw II, DO, BCOM founding dean; and local physician Orin McLeod, DO.
Tuition for one year at BCOM is $46,650. Fred Hueston, Ph.D., SWFOER’s development counsel for fundraising, is actively seeking financial and charitable support for scholarships. Individuals or organizations can contribute to permanent endowed scholarships, which require an investment of $1 million dollars to fund a full scholarship for one student every year. They can also donate money outright with the option of giving the same amount on an annual basis.
Dr. Hueston and Hummer are also engaged in efforts to create collaborative agreements with communities in the region to either pay for a student from that community to attend medical school, or fund a student who agrees to practice medicine in that community after graduation. They are also working with area hospitals on work exchange agreements that will help new physicians pay off student loans.
“This foundation is important because it will bring doctors to this part of the country, alleviate the physician shortages in rural areas, and answer BCOM’s mission of growing physicians from within the community that will stay in the community,” Dr. Hueston said. “We see SWFOER providing an ongoing line item of support for students and future physicians.”
Potential donors can learn more here: https://www.swfoer.org/