Texas’ Shifting Demographics Prompt Scholarship Program Change

Acknowledging a state now filled with people of different cultures and experiences, the Texas Medical Association has renamed its minority scholarship the TMA Diversity in Medicine Scholarship.  

The TMA Board of Trustees approved the change in September on recommendation from TMA’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Task Force. 

“These scholarships help ensure a workforce reflective of the population,” said Jayesh Shah, MD, a board member from San Antonio who chairs TMA’s Educational Scholarship and Loan Committee. “Having a diverse physician workforce results in a more inclusive health care system for all patients.”   

Ricardo Alfaro Zeledon, a first-year student at Baylor College of Medicine and a scholarship recipient, appreciates the advantages of a diverse workforce. “A diverse group benefits from having various perspectives, which allows for problems to be solved more efficiently,” he said in this video featuring 2022 scholarship recipients.   

TMA created the scholarship program in 1998, recognizing a unique opportunity to fill a gap brought about by the 1996 Hopwood v. Texas ruling. Funded by the TMA Foundation, the program aims to improve health care for all Texans by boosting underrepresented applicants to Texas medical schools, the number of physicians serving medically underserved populations, and diversity within the physician workforce.  

Eligible applicants are Black, Hispanic/Latino, and Native American groups underrepresented in medicine. The American Academy of Medical Colleges defines “underrepresented” as members of “racial and ethnic populations that are underrepresented in medicine relative to their numbers in the general population.”  

Additional weighted criteria for the TMA scholarships are:  

  • Interest in practicing in medically underserved areas;  
  • Unmet financial need; and  
  • Being the first in a family to attend college and/or pursue an advanced degree.

The scholarship lessens the financial burden of the students’ medical education, which now averages $200,000. TMA has awarded 178 scholarships totaling $1.4 million since the program’s inception.  

The 2023 scholarship program, now open, will assist students entering medical school in the fall of that year. If you know someone who qualifies, encourage him or her to apply now. For more information, contact Azalia Perez.  

The Diversity in Medicine Scholarship is funded by the TMA Foundation (TMAF), the association’s philanthropic arm. 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. This year’s scholarships also are supported by generous gifts from the TMAF Minority Scholarship Endowment of the late Patrick Leung, MD, and Nancy Leung of Midland; H-E-B; TMAF donor physicians and their families; and TMA county medical societies.


Last Updated On

September 26, 2022

Originally Published On

September 26, 2022

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