Dr. Bill Baker, DO, (center), accepts a scholarship donation on behalf of the Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education and Research. Also in attendance: BCOM President John L. Hummer; BCOM Dean Dr. George Mychaskiw II, DO; MVRMC Medical Director and Chief of Staff Dr. Kanakalingeswara C. Banda, MD; MVRMC Stroke Coordinator Erin Martin, RN; and MVRMC CEO Denten Park.

Bill Baker, DO, (center), Chair of the Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education and Research Board, accepts the scholarship donation. Also in attendance: BCOM President John L. Hummer; BCOM Dean George Mychaskiw II, DO; MVRMC Medical Director and Chief of Staff Kanakalingeswara C. Banda, MD; MVRMC Stroke Coordinator Erin Martin, RN; and MVRMC CEO Denten Park.

MountainView Regional Medical Center (MVRMC) made a $5,000 donation to the Southwest Foundation for Osteopathic Education and Research (SWFOER) to help defray the costs of a medical student’s education.

SWFOER, founded in 2016 out of the dormant New Mexico Osteopathic Foundation, aims to provide financial support and scholarships to medical students at the Burrell College of Osteopathic Medicine (BCOM), with an ultimate goal of encouraging the future physicians to work in rural and health care shortage areas in the region after graduation.

Money for the scholarship donation came from MVRMC’s medical staff fund, created from the fees local physicians must pay when they apply for hospital privileges. Kanakalingeswara C. Banda, MD, medical director and chief of staff at MVRMC, said the medical staff just recently realized they had this fund and wanted to use it to do something good for the people of Las Cruces.

“This foundation helps to bring more physicians to the community,” Dr. Banda said. “Southern New Mexico and Las Cruces is becoming a hub for medical education, and for practicing medicine as well. Roughly, 40 percent of physicians practice medicine within 30 miles of where they train, so helping students graduate from BCOM equals more doctors in our community.”

Local physician Bill Baker, DO, currently serves as chairperson for the SWFOER Board of Trustees. He said the donation will be given to one or more students on an application and as-needed basis. Currently, one year of tuition at BCOM is $46,650, and that does not include other fees, study materials, and living expenses. Dr. Baker said students will be able to use the money for any educational-related expenses whether that be housing, books, or to help cover tuition costs.

“We’d love to keep this going in the future,” Dr. Banda added. “Whenever we have the chance to help healthcare providers in our community and make things easier for them to do their jobs, we want to do that.”

Anyone interested in making a donation to SWFOER can contact Dr. Fred Hueston at 501-681-6501 or mallard@conwaycorp.net.