FamilyCare Health Plans Inc. will give $2 million to the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific – Northwest for scholarships supporting osteopathic medical students interested in primary care.
“Rising student loan debt and tuition cost is becoming more of a barrier to prospective students considering medicine as a career choice, especially in primary care,” said COMP-Northwest Executive Associate Dean Paula Crone, DO. “This extremely generous donation will directly impact students and open up opportunities and options they previously didn’t have in the Northwest.”
FamilyCare Health Plans is a Portland-based osteopathic HMO that focuses on Medicaid and Medicare programs. The nonprofit has pioneered several innovative programs designed to increase the quality of care delivered to its members, while creating an efficient, cost-effective system. FamilyCare serves more than 50,000 low-income Oregonians and is the oldest Medicaid managed care program in Oregon.
Jeff Heatherington, co-founder, president and CEO of FamilyCare Health Plans, has a history with COMP that dates to its founding in 1977. While serving as director of the Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons of Oregon, Heatherington helped bring together Western University of Health Sciences and Samaritan Health Services to build the COMP-Northwest campus in Lebanon, Ore. He is also a member of the COMP-Northwest Advancement Board.
COMP-Northwest has completed its first academic year and will welcome its second class in August 2012.
“We have an absolutely first-class group of student doctors in our first year,” Heatherington said. “What is even more exciting is Dr. Crone, her faculty and the students – together – created a marvelous atmosphere and culture of education and learning that is very positive.”
The gift will be placed in an endowed scholarship fund named in memory of J. Scott Heatherington, DO, and Arthur Rott, DO. The COMP-Northwest Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine (OMM) Lab will be named in honor of J. Scott Heatherington, DO.
Dr. Heatherington – Jeff’s father – was a past president of the American Osteopathic Association and the American Academy of Osteopathy, and also served as dean of the Oklahoma State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in Tulsa, Okla.
“The scholarship will not only honor his leadership as a member of the profession, but also as a huge advocate of osteopathic medicine overall and his teaching for many years, both in Oklahoma and in Portland,” Heatherington said.
Dr. Rott was one of the founders of FamilyCare and served as its medical director for 16 years. He also served for many years as director of medical education at Eastmoreland Hospital.
“He was very widely regarded as one of the best teachers of students, preceptors and residents at Eastmoreland,” Heatherington said. “The scholarship honors his role in making FamilyCare a success and as a great educator.”
“Dr. Heatherington served as a mentor and role model to many generations of DOs in Oregon. Jeff has continued that heritage of support to the DO community,” Crone added. “Dr. Rott was a beloved member of our osteopathic family. He left a lasting mark on the many students that he taught, and was considered a dear friend to so many of us. Both men helped to shape the fabric of our osteopathic community in Oregon and are greatly missed. The lessons that they taught us and the impact their lives had are felt daily by those delivering health care in Oregon today.”
In the first year of the gift, five second-year COMP-Northwest students each will receive a $20,000 scholarship. They will be eligible to receive additional $20,000 scholarships their subsequent two years at COMP-Northwest if they remain in good standing. In addition, a new group of five second-year students will receive scholarships each year.
“The recipients of the scholarships will be known as a Heatherington or Rott Scholar, which will recognize true merit value above and beyond a monetary award,” Crone said. “If you’re a Heatherington Scholar or Rott Scholar, you’re really something special. It’s something to aspire to.”