Georgia needs more than 2,000 additional primary care physicians to meet the state’s national average to population ratio, according to Emory University School of Medicine.
Aflac CEO Dan Amos and his wife Aflac Foundation President Kathelen Amos of Columbus are helping to meet this need.
They pledged a $ 5 million donation to establish the Kathelen and Dan Amos medical student loan forgiveness program at Emory.
The donation is expected to strengthen the school’s ability to attract top medical students, motivate them to practice in Georgia and work in primary care instead of more lucrative specialties.
Doctors trained in Emory and accepted into the loan cancellation program must work 2 to 5 years as a primary care physician in Georgia, depending on the financial assistance they received for their medical degree. Primary care specialties are pediatrics, internal medicine, family medicine and geriatrics,
Driven by the $ 100 million donation that Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone and his wife Elaine made to New York University in 2018 to provide free tuition for her medical students, Kathelen has started having “a few conversations at Emory with what would be a way to have the most impact on their students and also to have an impact on our fellow Georgians,” she told the Ledger-Enquirer.
Kathelen, a former nurse, saw the need up close.
“You see the lack of access to services, either because of geography or availability,” she said. “… I now know that there are a number of counties without a hospital or a pediatrician. … We have spent most of our life in Columbus, but our family roots go back to the small towns of Alabama and Florida, and I just have a heart for those parts of our state.
Dan noticed the primary health care deficit among Aflac employees who live outside of Columbus.
“They live in small rural areas that just don’t have the health care they need,” he said.
And being in the insurance industry, Dan added, “I see first-hand how quality care can make a big difference. So we want to make sure that these rural areas of Georgia, as much as possible, can provide the care to the people they need, and we think that might help one way or another. “
Donations from the Amos family are often made in private, but Kathelen said they chose to make this donation public to encourage additional contributions.
“We would like to have more support for this,” she said.
The estimated cost of attending Emory Medical School students in the 2021-2022 academic year is $ 90,590, and the average school graduate debt in 2020 was $ 192,000, according to its website.
“Student debt is a major contributor to anxiety, depression and burnout among students and residents,” said Dr. Vikas P. Sukhatme, dean of the Emory School of Medicine, in a statement. Press release. “We are extremely grateful for the generosity and trust of the Amos family in the young healthcare professionals and talented students we train at Emory. Together, we can have a profound impact on healthcare for families around the world. “
Emory Medical School students, graduates in residence or in their first five years of practice can claim up to $ 40,000 in tuition credit or loan forgiveness per year, up to a maximum total of $ 160,000 per recipient, said Jill Wu, Emory’s communications manager. .
The first prize of $ 40,000 requires the recipient to practice for two years in Georgia. Each additional award requires an additional year of practice in the state, rising to five years if the maximum is granted, Wu said.
Amos’ donation is expected to allow Emory to bestow 23 awards to medical students per year over five years, with some students receiving multiple awards, Wu said.
“We anticipate a benefit for 80 to 85 beneficiaries in total,” she said.
Kathelen Amos retired from Aflac as Executive Vice President after working for 20 years in the supplementary insurance company. She received her bachelor’s degree in political science from Emory, her law degree from the University of Georgia, and her nursing degree from Columbus Technical College. She served on Emory’s board of directors for 12 years.
Dan Amos has been CEO of Aflac for 31 years. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in insurance and risk management from the UGA. He is a past president of the University of Georgia Foundation and a former director of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.
How to make a donation
To donate to the Kathelen and Dan Amos Medical Student Loan Forgiveness Program at Emory University, contact Vicki Riedel, Assistant Vice President for Advancement, at 404-358-2201 or at email@example.com