October 13, 2011
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Damien Luviano came to America as a child with just one change of clothes. But with perseverance and help from the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA) Minority Scholarship Program, he grew to become a successful Texas physician.
“I came to this country with very little,” says Damien Luviano, MD, chief of ophthalmology at the Joslin Diabetes Center Affiliate at Southeast Texas Medical Associates in Beaumont. “Odds were not in my favor [to succeed].” Dr. Luviano received one of the first of three TMA minority scholarships awarded to first-year Texas medical school students in 1999.
“Today I have a bachelor’s from The University of Texas (UT) at Austin and a medical degree from UT Southwestern.”
Through hard work and determination, Dr. Luviano proved an outstanding student destined to become a top physician. TMA’s Minority Scholarship Program chose him for his academic achievements, commitment to community service, and health care experience.
Each year TMA awards $5,000 scholarships to outstanding minority students entering each of Texas’ nine medical schools. Through the years, TMA has helped 65 talented students realize their dream of becoming a doctor by awarding $325,000 in scholarships. Many of those young physicians now care for patients in Texas, like Dr. Luviano.
“I dared to dream big,” he says. “And from the age of nine, when I knew medicine was my calling, I did everything I could to achieve excellence and that dream.”
Dr. Luviano — and passionate medical students like him — exemplify the mission of TMA’s Minority Scholarship Program: to encourage talented minority students to enter medicine by lightening the financial burden of medical school. Medical student tuition and fees can reach or exceed $200,000.
According to the 2010 U.S. Census, the majority of Texans are ethnic minorities, yet too few Texas doctors or medical students are minorities. The Minority Scholarship Program was created to help diversify this physician workforce to ensure the health needs of Texas’ increasingly diverse population are met.
TMA encourages Hispanic, African-American, and Native American students entering medical school in the fall of 2012 to apply by the Jan. 9 deadline for the next round of scholarships. TMA will choose nine winners, one from each of Texas’ nine medical schools. Honorees will be recognized at TexMed, TMA’s annual conference, held in Dallas in May 2012.
Now a physician with many awards to his name, Dr. Luviano still remembers and gives back to the program that helped him achieve his dream.
“I have benefited from the fruit of the TMA members and its scholarship, and now I too am contributing back to its scholarship foundation.”
The scholarships are made possible by a grant from the association’s philanthropic arm, the TMA Foundation, thanks to generous gifts from a number of TMA’s county medical societies, physicians like Dr. Luviano, their families, and corporate supporters.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 45,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 120 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans. TMA Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the association and raises funds to support the public health and science priority initiatives of TMA and the family of medicine.
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