Medical students in love,
Look out Match.com. A state program for training rural physicians has some pretty impressive Cupid credentials.
Close to 14% of the 43 participants in the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program have married someone else in the program, for a total of three weddings since the program started in 2008, says Janie Guice, who runs the largely state-funded effort as executive director.
The program, which promotes primary-care education through scholarships and medical school preparation, has not resorted to personality surveys, group hot-tub dates or even rose ceremonies to achieve its marital rate. The closest the rural scholars program has gotten to a wild party are regular “gab and grub” sessions in which the recipients meet in the union for free food to share stories and advice on surviving medical school, she says.
Guice says a common thread is that participants tend to share “a missionary-like zeal” for medical care, and maybe that is playing a role in fostering romance. Kelsey and Chad Dowell formed one of the three marriages, and are completing their first year of osteopathic training at William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Hattiesburg.
Most scholarship recipients attend the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson, with a smaller contingent at Carey.
Romance aside, Guice says the scholarship program is doing well, adding 13 to 15 students annually who receive $30,000 apiece a year for medical school. And the state will soon open a physician workforce office that will work to expand local residency slots, she says.
And while Guice says she wouldn’t use its marriage rate to promote the program, she declined to say that finding a potential spouse is not a possibility. “Leaving with a spouse is not guaranteed. But it could happen. Birds of a feather flock together.”
Kelsey and Chad Dowell are one of three couples in the scholarship program who’ve tied the knot.