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BEDFORD — According to The Association of American Medical Colleges, one third of the nation’s doctors are expected to retire in the next decade and 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day. Our nation faces a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians by 2020, split nearly equally between primary care and other medical and surgical specialties.

To address this, local hospitals are partnering with the Community Foundation for the Alleghenies to encourage students to apply for scholarships in the medical field and then commit to coming back to the area to practice their healthcare career. The Memorial Hospital of Bedford County Foundation works with UPMC Bedford to educate young people in Bedford County about opportunities in the healthcare field as a way to help reverse the brain drain. Since its inception in 2007, nearly $1.1 million has been awarded from this fund to Bedford County students. (The Apollo Award Fund  works similarly in Cambria and Somerset counties.

”Through the generous donations of the late Dr. Bert and Lucille Wiley, as well as Thomas E. Bailey, the Memorial Hospital of Bedford County Foundation funds scholarships for students entering health profession studies,” said Sandy Boyd, scholarship coordinator.

“It’s wonderful to see how the hospital works closely with local students to ensure the success of both — the results have been amazing,” Katrina Perkosky, Development Associate. “By choosing to open a scholarship fund with the Foundation, the hospital staff and committee can focus on the students, while we take care of the accounting and paperwork.”

“These scholarships are a great opportunity to help the students with financial aid to pursue their healthcare career goals. As a hospital we benefit by being involved in their educational journey and being able to employ these talented students at our hospital when they graduate,” said Paula Thomas, Vice President of Patient Service and Nursing Administration.

There are a variety of scholarships available through the Health Professions Scholarships Program. Eligibility requirements include being a Bedford County resident and being accepted into a health careers program. Some of the scholarships may also require a demonstration of financial need.

Applications are being accepted online until March 31. To find out more about these scholarship programs, contact Sandy Boyd. To learn more about other scholarship opportunities through the Community Foundation, contact Katrina Perkosky.

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