Medical students participate in Clinical Skills learning session
Medical students from the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine's Class of 2024 participate in a Clinical Skills learning session about vital signs. (Courtesy of TCU & UNTHSC Medical School media )
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An anonymous couple has given a $250,000 lifeline to the second class of students at the TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine. 

Each student will receive $60,000 to cover their second year tuition.  

First year medical student
Ilana Zago first year TCU & UNTHSC medical student. (Photo courtesy of Ilana Zago)

“As somebody who has lacked financial means, money is a huge source of stress,” said Ilana Zago, first-year medical student. “It’s just a huge sigh of relief to know that this is a substantial amount of money that’s going to help me.”

The class of 60 students first learned of the gift earlier this month on a Zoom call with medical school dean Stuart Flynn. 

On average, medical students graduate with over $250,000 in debt, which can limit the practice they choose to pursue in their residency. Chris Gilbody, director of financial education and scholarship at TCU and UNTHSC School of Medicine, said the gift will lift a substantial financial burden from these students. 

“It will basically wipe out a quarter of their debt,” said Gilbody. “So, it has, you know a pretty significant impact on their full-time here and the amount of debt they’ll borrow.”  

Chancellor Victor Boschini believes that this donation will further encourage these students to focus on what is truly important: compassionate care.

“This gift will alleviate some of the burden of debt as our students focus on learning and leading in providing capable and compassionate patient care,” said Boschini. “I am so grateful for this extraordinary gift to these future physicians.”

Sam Sayed first year TCU & UNTHSC medical student. (Photo courtesy of Sam Sayed)

Sam Sayed, first-year medical student, feels that this donation will help him and his peers to further promote the TCU and UNTHSC mission. 

“We all have our own stories and our own reasons why to pursue medicine, but one thing that is the same for all of us is that we want to help people,” said Sayed. “You have to have that burning desire to give back, even before someone gives a donation. But what it does do is just reinforces it, and it just makes you want to be that much better at it.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has made navigating medical school difficult for many students, but Zago explained that she and her peers have persevered even with the limitations of online classes. This gift, Zago believes, has helped further inspire optimism and courage.

“To know that there are anonymous donors out there who are seeing that and care about us and want us to succeed and want us to excel even in these extremely challenging times is so inspiring,” said Zago. “I’ve just never felt so supported.”

This financial help will further encourage these medical students to pursue their long-term goals. Born and raised in the DFW area, Sayed said that he wants to give back to his community.

“I pursued medicine because I’ve seen how it’s done wonders for one community and has failed the next,” said Sayed. “It’s that next community that I want to target and bridge that disparity between quality healthcare and those that lack it.”

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