Morehouse School of Medicine Continues to Reduce Residents’ Debt with Launch of ‘Operation Keepsake’

 

Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) continues to work fervently to ensure medical education is attainable and affordable. Just weeks after announcing nearly $650,000 to help graduates with debt, the Atlanta-based institution announced another debt-reduction program.

“Operation Keepsake” is a resident loan repayment program designed to also address medical resident retention in the state of Georgia. Funding for Operation Keepsake comes from a $35 million pledge Governor Nathan Deal made in 2016 to assist MSM in its effort to have graduates practice in rural and underserved communities across the state.

“Morehouse School of Medicine was founded to address the physician shortage in Georgia and to advance primary care, especially to the underserved areas in the state. We have stood true to that mission as MSM has a 63% overall retention rate of graduates remaining in Georgia after completing their program,” said MSM President and Dean Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice. “Operation Keepsake allows our residents who choose to remain in Georgia to decrease their financial burden.”

Five residents were selected as the first recipients of the award. Applications will re-open shortly to allow another five to take advantage of the opportunity.

The average resident racks up approximately $150,000 in debt by the time she or he finishes her or his medical training. Each resident will receive $25,000 a year for two years, but must remain in the state of Georgia during that time in order to qualify. This award will help graduating residents like Dr. Paula Adamson, who accumulated $500,000 in student loan debt beginning as an undergraduate and continuing through her residency. “Receiving this money will help me tremendously,” said Adamson. “Even with the scholarships I received and my work, I still had to take out substantial loans in order to cover educational costs.”

For Dr. Jordan Howard, who has more than $300,000 in student loan debt, the award means he will be able to follow his heart, rather than just a check. He says repaying student loans was a major factor in his job selection. “Unfortunately, this strongly influenced my employment consideration and limited the percentage of time I will be spending doing community/academic psychiatry in the near future—work I truly enjoy,” said Howard. “In receiving student loan repayment assistance, though, I can see myself shifting priorities to passion-work over salary.”

The five recipients of the award are:

  • Dr. Paula Adamson of Roxbury, Massachusetts. She will be a chief resident at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
  • Dr. Guimy Alexis of Pompano Beach, Florida. He will be a hospitalist at Gordon Hospital in Calhoun.
  • Dr. Riliwanu Aliu of Nigeria. He will work in urgent care at Murray Medical Center in Chatsworth.
  • Dr. Jordan Howard of Fresno, California. He will work in ambulatory care at the Lee Arrendale State Prison in Alto, as well as at Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta.
  • Dr. Robinette King of Albany. She will work in ambulatory care at WellStar West Georgia Medical Center in LaGrange.



About Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM)
Founded in 1975, Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) is among the nation's leading educators of primary care physicians, biomedical scientists and public health professionals. In 2011, MSM was recognized by Annals of Internal Medicine as the nation’s No. 1 medical school in fulfilling a social mission. MSM faculty and alumni are noted for excellence in teaching, research and public policy, as well as exceptional patient care.

Morehouse School of Medicine is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award doctoral and master's degrees. To learn more about programs and donate today, please visit www.msm.edu or call 404-752-1500.