In 2002, entertainment mogul David Geffen gave an unrestricted gift of $200M to the University of Calfornia Los Angeles' School of Medicine, which was subsequently named the David Geffen School of Medicine (DGSOM) in recognition of his generosity. Now, Mr. Geffen has made a further gift of $100M to establish a medical scholarship fund that will offer full funding to the most qualified and promising medical students, whether they are pursuing the MD degree or the MD/PhD in UCLA's renowned Medical Scientist Training Program. As the aim of the scholarship program is to recruit the best students in the world to DGSOM, both American and international students are eligible. All costs including living expenses and supplies are covered by the award and are offered for all 4 years (or 8 in the combined MD/PhD scientist program).
[Photo courtesy of UCLA-Caltech Medical Scientist Training Program]
A medical school education has always been expensive, but as tuition costs have risen in the UC System, it's more true than ever. Yearly costs to attend DGSOM come to about $67,000. Despite that daunting figure, some 7,500 candidates apply each year for the school's 163 freshman class positions. The Geffen gift will allow the school to fully fund 33 of those students for their full course of study. That means exceptional students who are concerned about graduating with massive debt and having that limit their choices can choose UCLA and pursue the specialization that best suits their interests and the community's needs without weighing the debt factor into their career decisions.
Mr. Geffen is quoted in a UCLA press release as saying:
"The cost of a world-class medical education should not deter our future innovators, doctors and scientists from the path they hope to pursue. We need the students at this world-class institution to be driven by determination and the desire to do their best work and not by the fear of crushing debt. I hope in doing this that others will be inspired to do the same."
Making scholarship funds like this available will draw the best applicants from around the world. That level of excellence and commitment in the medical student body will tanslate into superior lab research assistants as well as clinical interns. And of course future doctors and scientists. Geffen's charitable contributions to UCLA are the largest from a single donor in UC history.
[Photo of Mr. Geffen: PR Newswire/The Recording Academy]
The Medical Scientist Training Program is an NIH-sponsored program dating back to 1964 that helps assure that medical universities are equipped to offer the joint MD/PhD degree, which in almost all cases leads to a career in medical research. UCLA is one of 43 participating MSTP institutions that receive NIH funding to support students in the highly-competitive and intense dual degree program. The NIH program only covers 6 years of study even though it typically takes 8 years to complete joint degree. The Geffen fund will cover all 8 years and will be available to non-US citizens as well. UCLA only accepts MSTP students who complete the entire program at DGSOM/UCLA (as opposed to getting the PhD elsewhere and then applying to medical school). Two of the years of study, however, are carried out at Caltech as part of the UCLA-Caltech MSTP affiliation that was started in 1997. Though some of the 43 MSTP institutions accept funding from the NIH to administer the degree program, at least 6 do not accept NIH funding to support students. The NIH amount is capped at a level that requires most institutions to supplement it with other funding, which they are not always prepared to do.
UCLA has a new medical education building under construction and set to open in fall 2016.
Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. will be holding its Semiannual UCLA Biotechnology Vendor Showcase expo event next on April 4, 2013. This professional show is an excellent connection opportunity for life scientists and lab equipment specialists to discuss the latest lab technologies. The UCLA BVS event is the largest of three BCI tradeshows held over a four-day period in the greater Los Angeles area in the spring:
- 4/02/2013 -- 5th Annual Front Line Event, UCSB
- 4/04/2013 -- 31st Semiannual UCLA BVP Event
- 4/05/2012 -- 8th Semiannual Front Line Event, USC Health Sciences Campus
For information on exhibiting and a 1-page funding report, click this button:
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