Fifteen minority students entering Texas medical schools this fall each will receive a $10,000 scholarship from the Texas Medical Association (TMA). The students were selected for their academic achievement, commitment to community service, and desire to care for Texas’ increasingly diverse population, TMA said in a news release.
The announcement comes amid Texas’ growing need for physicians and health care workers, as evidenced by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the opening of two medical schools during the past year.
TMA created the Minority Scholarship Program in 1998 to help diversify the physician workforce to meet the health care needs of Texans. Since the program began, TMA has awarded 148 scholarships totaling $967,500.
The TMA Educational Scholarship, Loan, and Awards Committee chose one recipient entering each Texas medical school from a competitive field of promising future physicians. The scholarship encourages minority students to attend medical school by lessening the financial burden of their postgraduate education, which averages more than $175,000.
The TMA Foundation (TMAF), the association’s philanthropic arm, funds the program.
Recipients are known as the “Bayardo Scholars” in recognition of the majority support provided by the TMA Foundation Trust Fund of Roberto J. Bayardo, MD, and the late Agniela “Annie” M. Bayardo of Houston. Other generous gifts from the TMAF Patrick Y. Leung Minority Scholarship Endowment, TMAF donor physicians and their families, H-E-B, and TMA county medical societies also support the scholarships.
2020 TMA Bayardo Scholars
Six are from North Texas or will attend medical school in the area:
Kemi Alabi of Fort Worth graduated from Sam Houston State University in 2018 with a bachelor of science degree in biology. She will study at University of the Incarnate Word School of Osteopathic Medicine in San Antonio, with the goal of practicing primary care in West Texas. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and H-E-B provided Alabi’s scholarship.
Belinda Busogi of Frisco received a bachelor of science and arts degree in human development and family science from The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) in 2019. She will attend McGovern Medical School at UTHealth in Houston. Busogi plans to practice psychiatry in an underserved area of Dallas. Her scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; H-E-B; Teresa Lynn Irwin, MD, of New Braunfels; and Gregory R. Johnson, MD, of Houston.
Daemar Jones of Arlington received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from Texas Tech University in 2018. Jones plans to practice internal medicine in rural Texas. He will attend Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine in Lubbock. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Cynthia Ann Jumper, MD, of Lubbock provided Mr. Jones’ scholarship.
Antonio Igbokidi of Fort Worth graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2018 with a double major ̶ a bachelor of science degree in biology and a bachelor of arts degree in African American studies. He will train at TCU and UNTSHC School of Medicine in Fort Worth, with the goal of practicing family medicine and psychiatry in Tarrant County. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and the Khushalani Foundation of Humble provided Igbokidi’s scholarship.
Ariana Ramirez of Madisonville earned a master’s degree in biomedical sciences from The University of North Texas Health Science Center in 2019. She previously received her bachelor of science degree in biomedical sciences from Texas A&M University. Ramirez will study at the University of North Texas Health Science Center Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine in Fort Worth, with plans to work in internal medicine. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Tarrant County Medical Society provided her scholarship.
Jesus Valencia of San Antonio graduated from St. Mary’s University in 2019 with a bachelor of science degree in biochemistry. He will attend UT Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. After earning his medical degree and completing his postgraduate work, he plans to practice primary care or anesthesiology in a medically underserved rural area near El Paso. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Dallas County Medical Society provided Mr. Valencia’s scholarship.
Other scholarship students:
Sally Acebo of Katy graduated from the University of North Texas Health Science Center in 2018 with a master’s degree in biomedical sciences after receiving her undergraduate degree in chemistry from the University of St. Thomas in Houston. She will study at Sam Houston State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Huntsville. Acebo plans to treat children in a rural area of Texas as a pediatrician. Her scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; the TMAF Patrick Y. Leung, MD, Endowment; and Dr. Patrick and Mrs. Nancy Leung of Midland.
Abakar Sabir Baraka of San Antonio earned a bachelor’s degree in medical humanities from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2019. He will train at UT Health San Antonio Long School of Medicine with aspirations of becoming a surgeon. Baraka plans to help low-income patients in San Antonio. His scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; Florence Nwagwu, MD, of Garland; and Drs. Rajam and Somayaji Ramamurthy of San Antonio.
Breanna Chachere of Alvin earned a master of public health degree from Boston University in 2018. She completed her undergraduate studies in psychology at Rice University. Chachere will study at the University of Houston College of Medicine and aims to provide primary care among vulnerable and underserved populations. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Gregory R. Johnson, MD, of Houston, provided her scholarship.
Briana Cortez of El Paso graduated from Boston University in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in human physiology. She will study at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley School of Medicine in Harlingen and plans to practice endocrinology in El Paso or the Rio Grande Valley. Cortez’s scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; Hidalgo-Starr County Medical Society; and C. Enrique Batres, MD, of Missouri City.
Andrea McWilliams of El Paso will study medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Paul L. Foster School of Medicine in El Paso. She received a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology from Brown University in Rhode Island in 2012, then embarked on a career and pursued an advanced degree. She hopes to practice primary care after completing medical school. McWilliams’ scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and E. Thomas Wightman Jr., MD, of Arlington.
Ariana Olvera of Donna graduated from UT Austin this spring with a bachelor of science and arts degree in biology. She will attend Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. After medical school she aims to focus on internal medicine and intends to practice primary care in a medically underserved urban area. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; Harris County Medical Society/Houston Academy of Medicine; and Carla F. Ortique, MD, of Houston, provided Olvera’s scholarship.
Heidi Anahi Pargas of Laredo received a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science from Texas A&M University this spring. She will pursue her medical degree at Texas A&M University College of Medicine in Bryan/College Station, with the goal of returning home to practice as an obstetrician-gynecologist. The TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Bell County Medical Society provided Ms. Pargas’ scholarship.
Veronica Remmert of Round Rock graduated from UT Austin this spring with a bachelor of science and arts degree in biology. She plans to practice pediatrics or internal medicine in minority or immigrant communities in Central Texas. Remmert will attend UT Austin Dell Medical School. Her scholarship was provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund and Travis County Medical Society.
Alan Villarreal Rizzo of Brownsville has earned two master’s degrees ̶ a master of science in health science from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and a master of public health in epidemiology from UTHealth School of Public Health in Houston. He received his bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Villarreal Rizzo will study at The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Medicine in Galveston and intends to practice internal medicine in the Rio Grande Valley. Mr. Villarreal Rizzo’s scholarship is provided by the TMAF Bayardo Minority Scholarship Fund; Baldemar Covarrubias, MD, of Corpus Christi; Mark J. Kubala, MD, of Beaumont; and Drs. Mary Dale Peterson and Rafael Coutin of Corpus Christi.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 53,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. The TMA Foundation raises funds to support the population health, science, and quality-of-care priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.