University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren and University of Tulsa President Steadman Upham have announced the establishment of a $10 million endowed scholarship fund made possible through the generosity of the William K. Warren Foundation and Saint Francis Health System.
“We at the William K. Warren Foundation and Saint Francis Health System are extremely proud to partner with The University of Tulsa and the University of Oklahoma’s newest endeavor of providing a four-year medical degree within our community,” said William K. Warren Foundation Chief Executive Officer John-Kelly Warren. “According to the United Health Foundation, Oklahoma ranks 48th in the number of primary care physicians per 100,000 population, and this is unacceptable. It is our hope that through our innovative public and private partnership, the state of Oklahoma will reverse this trend, whereby the locally educated physicians will desire to practice locally.”
The new endowment will provide scholarships to assist and support the higher education needs of medical students attending or preparing to attend the OU-TU School of Community Medicine in Tulsa. The goal is to encourage and increase the number of doctors – specifically primary care physicians – practicing medicine in Tulsa and throughout Oklahoma.
“Through this gift, Saint Francis is hopeful that those called to the healing ministry will be better able to navigate the accompanying financial barriers. Saint Francis Health System has long been a supporter of advancement in, and access to, education in Oklahoma – education of all kinds,” said Jake Henry, Jr., president and chief executive officer for the Saint Francis Health System. “Our support of the OU-TU School of Community Medicine is a natural partnership. Ensuring a future of well-prepared physicians is vital to not only the health of Saint Francis Health System but to that of the entire region.”
Upham said he appreciates the commitment by both the Warren Foundation and Saint Francis to the health and wellbeing of Tulsans. “The benefits of these transformational gifts extend far beyond the individual scholars; they will positively impact our community for generations,” he said.
“These scholarships made possible through the generosity of the William K. Warren Foundation and the Saint Francis Health System will help us recruit and retain outstanding students to the OU-TU School of Community Medicine,” Boren said. “These students will make a real difference in improving health care of Tulsans and those in eastern Oklahoma. We are extremely grateful to the William K. Warren Foundation and the Saint Francis Health System for their generosity.”
The scholarships will be available beginning in fall 2015, which coincides with the opening of TU’s new College of Health Sciences. TU College of Health Sciences faculty will be teaching components of the first- and second year-curriculum in the OU-TU School of Community Medicine.
“The William K. Warren Foundation and Saint Francis Health System scholarships will be offered at both universities and will advance our existing partnership with OU,” said Dr. Gerry Clancy, TU vice president for health affairs and dean of the College of Health Sciences. “We can utilize this gift to leverage the talents of our students and faculties and become the premier resource for health professionals that are well prepared for a rapidly changing healthcare landscape.”