DeSoto Center science students learn about scholarship options

Recently, Dr. Wahnee Sherman, executive director of the Mississippi Rural Physicians and Dental Scholarship Program visited science students at the DeSoto Center at Northwest Mississippi Community College to outline the scholarship programs that are available to students who choose to study medicine or dentistry in the state of Mississippi. According to Sherman, there is a critical shortage of primary care physicians and dentists, especially in the rural areas of the state.

“Our MRPSP program exists because Mississippi has the highest shortage rate of physicians in the country,” Sherman said. “We don’t have enough doctors to serve the number of patients we have in our state, and specifically in our rural areas,” she added.

She talked about all of the requirements students will need to meet to apply for these scholarships and described what the life of medical and dental students is like in this program.

The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship program (MRPSP) has been in existence since 2007, according to Sherman. Up to 25 undergraduate students selected for the MRPSP will receive two years of undergraduate academic enrichment, including mentoring by a rural physician, MCAT preparation materials and practice tests, introduction into the life a medical school student, rural clinical experience, an opportunity for early assurance to the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Medicine and consideration for a $30,000 per year medical scholarship.

Sherman emphasized the importance of job shadowing in a medical or dental setting, stating that it was really an important part of the scholarship requirements.

The Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program (MRDSP) takes up to seven students per year, according to Sherman. Those undergraduates who are selected will receive two years of undergraduate academic enrichment as well as mentoring by a rural dentist and clinical experience, DAT presentation and practice tests, introduction into the life of a dental school student and consideration for an annual $35,000 scholarship to the University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry.

Sherman said that each of the scholarship programs require a service commitment. MRPSP scholars are required to practice in a clinic-based primary care practice in an approved, medically underserved community in Mississippi for a minimum of four years. MRDSP Scholars are required to establish a general or pediatric dental proactive in an approved rural or medically underserved community in Mississippi for a minimum of four years.

Dr. Lindsay Massie, biology instructor at Northwest was instrumental in bringing Sherman for her first visit to DeSoto Center.

“On behalf of the Natural Science Division, I was extremely happy to have Dr. Sherman back with us for another year. While she has spoken to students on the Senatobia campus in the past, this was her first visit to the DeSoto Center campus. I have been overjoyed with the amount of interests that our students have in applying to professional school. Students are very interested in finding ways that they can help pay for these dreams they have as dentists and physicians. If the student is selected, this scholarship helps to alleviate some of that stress, so that the student can focus on their academics. Dr. Sherman brings to this program a wealth of knowledge that she is able to share with the students. We always have students staying after her presentation eager to ask more questions and know more information about the application process. I am excited to know that Northwest is turning out young professionals to embark in the science field. This is a tribute to not only Northwest Mississippi Community College, but also to the instructors within the Natural Science Division,” Massie said.

To date, Northwest has had three MRPSP scholars and one MRDSP scholar, all from the Senatobia campus.

The deadline to apply for the both programs is Feb. 15, Sherman said. For further information visit umc.edu/mrpsp or umc.edu/mrdsp.

Pictured: Dr. Wahnee Sherman (left)executive director of the Mississippi Rural Physicians and Dental Scholarship Program visited science students at the DeSoto Center at Northwest Mississippi Community College to outline the scholarship programs that are available to students who choose to study medicine or dentistry in the state of Mississippi. Welcoming Sherman is Dr. Lindsay Massie (right) biology instructor at Northwest. (Photo by LaJuan Tallo)

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