FOR RELEASE: Aug. 16, 2006

GALVESTON, Texas — The George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation has committed $88,000 to establish a scholarship at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston for an exceptional medical student participating in the university’s Health Careers Opportunity Program. The program offers promising college and medical school students from disadvantaged communities across Texas the academic, clinical and mentoring support at UTMB that will help them realize their dreams of becoming physicians.

High school seniors apply to the program and, if selected, are granted early admission to UTMB. After graduating from high school, the program participants attend one of six partner universities where they follow rigorous academic regimens. They also may visit the academic health center each summer for supplementary academic work and clinical experiences. If the students successfully meet the program’s grade point average and MCAT [Medical College Admission Test] standards by the time they graduate college, they receive full admission to UTMB’s School of Medicine.

Monica Guzman was recently awarded the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Scholarship, one of UTMB’s largest non-endowed scholarships. The award will cover her tuition, fees, textbooks, and room and board for the entire four years of her medical education. “It was something I didn’t expect,” Guzman said about receiving the scholarship. “I’m really grateful for it.”

The Laredo native graduated from Texas A&M International University in May, earning her bachelor’s degree in biology. Guzman received numerous accolades at the university, such as graduating summa cum laude and earning a graduate fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi, a national honor society. She also completed the TAMIU honors curriculum, graduating as a D.D. Hachar Honors Program Scholar, and was named a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Academic Athletic Scholar. Guzman is the first member of her family to attend medical school.

The Health Careers Opportunity Program is designed not only to develop a health care work force that mirrors Texas’ diverse population but also to cultivate more doctors who are passionate about working in medically underserved areas. Of the state’s medical schools, UTMB has the most diverse medical student body, with underrepresented students accounting for 36 percent of the university’s Class of 2009.

Guzman, who took courses this summer at UTMB to help prepare for the fall term, plans to return to Laredo or elsewhere in the state’s Rio Grande Valley to practice medicine. She said receiving the Hamman Scholarship will make it much easier for her to help medically underserved communities upon graduation because she won’t have to worry about paying off large student loans. “It’s a huge relief for me to receive this scholarship,” said Guzman, who is considering surgery or obstetrics and gynecology as her medical specialty. “It will help me focus on my studies more and do some volunteer work. I’ll be able to start helping in medically underserved areas earlier.”

UTMB President John D. Stobo thanked the Hamman Foundation for generously establishing the four-year scholarship. “The foundation’s board of directors can take great pride in knowing that they are helping us create a compassionate and diverse health care work force,” Stobo said. “Thanks to the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, we will graduate more physicians who have the cultural empathy needed to help them communicate more effectively with their patients.”

Headquartered in Houston, the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation that was established in 1954 by Mary Josephine Hamman to provide grants and scholarships to various nonprofit organizations in Texas, particularly in the Houston metropolitan area. The foundation provides scholarship assistance to high school seniors for higher education; promotes the fine arts; funds qualified institutions to advance and develop scientific projects; assists churches, associations and conventions of churches in the advancement of religion; aids colleges and universities in operating and capital needs; assists the needy; and supports hospitals, medical colleges and research institutions for the study, treatment and cure of disease.

A longtime UTMB supporter, the Hamman Foundation has contributed to various programs and initiatives, including the Program for Innovation in Education. This successfully completed $8.65 million fundraising initiative enhanced the academic health center’s learning environment by supporting the renovation of UTMB’s learning facilities and establishing endowments for faculty who demonstrate excellence in teaching.
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
Public Affairs Office
301 University Boulevard, Suite 3.102
Galveston, Texas 77555-0144