November 18, 2017  

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USM Graduates Receive Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarships

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University of Southern Mississippi graduates Justin Dyer, Kelly Hill and Lorenzo Spencer have been awarded the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship valued at $30,000 per year for their medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson.

Dyer, a native of Roxie, Miss., is the son of Otis and Brenda Dyer of Roxie. Hill, a native of Picayune, Miss., is the daughter of Senator Angela Burks Hill and R. Byron Hill of Picayune. Spencer, a Hattiesburg, Miss., native, is the son of Cheryl Spencer of Hattiesburg and Lorenzo Spencer of Hope Mills, N.C.

Created in 2007, the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program (MRPSP) is designed to provide more primary care physicians in rural areas of Mississippi. During medical school, each MRPSP scholar receives $30,000 per year based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of the MRPSP translates to 60 medical students receiving a total of $1,800,000 to support their education this fall.

“The Mississippi Legislature celebrates with these Mississippians from across the state in their commitment to improving healthcare for rural Mississippians by becoming rural primary care physicians,” said Buck Clarke, Chairman of the State Senate Appropriations.

In addition to the legislative support, 5 privately funded scholarships are also awarded this year. Other benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support. 

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology or pediatrics. The MRPSP Scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 20,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.

MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school and to earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.

About the Program
The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program and the Mississippi Rural Dentists Scholarship Program are state-funded efforts to increase the number of physicians and dentists serving the health-care needs of Mississippians in rural areas. Housed at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, and collaborating with its schools of medicine and dentistry and the College of Osteopathic Medicine at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, the programs use various outreach, mentoring and training methods to identify, support, educate and deploy new generations of health-care workers for Mississippi’s underserved populations. To learn more about either program, click here.