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The Catalyst

Medical student awarded prestigious AMA scholarship

By J. Ryne Danielson
Public Relations


MUSC fourth–year medical student Brittany Watson was the recipient of the 2015 Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship, which was recently awarded by the American Medical Association.

Watson, who is originally from Georgetown, graduated from Clemson University in 2012, with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. Following her undergraduate studies, Watson, a registered nurse, resolved to become a physician and prepared herself for medical school.

Since coming to MUSC in August of 2012, Watson has distinguished herself as a dedicated student of medicine, said Michael de Arellano, Ph.D., associate dean of diversity for the College of Medicine. “She has emerged as a passionate and engaged active learner and has gained the admiration and respect of countless administrators in the College of Medicine. Her demonstration of excitement and enthusiasm about learning is unforgettable.”

Watson has been the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding academic achievement, including the Medical Association of Georgetown County Scholar award, the Herbert N. Shearin Memorial Award for Excellence in Nursing and the Human Development Emerging Leader award. She is a Roper St. Francis Physicians Scholar, Palmetto Fellow and member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key Honor Society. In 2013, Watson was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society as well as the MUSC Presidential Scholars program, which is designed to facilitate collaboration and communication between students and faculty.

In 2014, Watson received the Earl B. Higgins Award. “This prestigious university distinction was established to honor a former director of minority affairs at MUSC,” Arellano said. “The award acknowledges Brittany’s passionate engagement and positive contributions to MUSC. In addition to her obvious strengths in temperament and talent, Brittany is a genuinely friendly and engaging person. Her selfless devotion to others is a remarkable trait. She can be found rallying and motivating her classmates to ensure that they are staying on task with their studies. She takes the time to help her classmates understand concepts and will teach and review course material with those who need her help. She is a mature, conscientious and self–motivated student. She is a natural leader and exemplifies exceptional leadership skills through her volunteerism and community involvement.”

One way Watson has been involved in the MUSC community is by serving as a mentor in the Student Mentors for Minorities in Medicine program, a program that seeks to encourage high school and college students who are underrepresented in the health care field to pursue a career in medicine by presenting them with role models and mentors.

She has also served as the director of marketing and development at the Community Aid, Relief, Education and Support (CARES) Clinic, a student–run clinic for individuals without health insurance.
One of the biggest impediments to pursuing a medical career is the cost of medical school. The Physicians of Tomorrow scholarship, of which Watson is one of the latest recipients, was created in 2004 to provide financial assistance to medical students facing spiraling medical school debt.

According to the AMA, on average, medical students in the U.S. graduate with a debt load of nearly $162,000. Such large debt burdens may deter many from practicing in underserved areas of the country or practicing primary care medicine, but this scholarship seeks to address that challenge.

January 10, 2016



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