“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
– Nelson Mandela
Azul Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Spa’s Azul Foundation has made a four-year donation to the University of Michigan Medical School to help fund the education of a first-year medical student. The $20,000 donation will fund $5,000 per year for the four years of medical school for a specific student chosen by the medical school. With the cost of college education skyrocketing in the U.S., students are finding it increasingly difficult to get a quality education. This is even more true in graduate specialties like the medical field, and many students report graduating with student loans in excess of $100,000. Did you know that the average cost of one year in medical school is now $51,044? To help out with this growing problem, we at Azul Cosmetic Surgery and Medical Spa have created the Azul Foundation, and are getting involved in a sponsorship program with my alma mater, the University of Michigan, to assist entering medical students with tuition.
In addition to our personal pride as alumni (Patrick M. Flaharty MD, 1986, Kristen K. Flaharty Pharm D., 1987), there are many reasons we chose the University of Michigan as an excellent recipient of the Azul Foundation’s assistance. Founded in 1850, the medical school at the University of Michigan was the first to understand the importance of creating a university hospital for physician instruction, changing the role of the student from simply a passive observer to an active participant in the learning process. This cutting-edge approach to medical education continues today — U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks the University of Michigan Medical School as one of the Top 10 research schools nationally. Take a look at the med school’s web page, here.
The University of Michigan has also set a very ambitious goal of creating an endowment big enough to fund the entire four-year medical school education for all students. This would allow the University to accept the best and the brightest, knowing that these students can receive a world-class education, without the burden of student loans as they move forward to pursue their future career goals after medical school. As a physician who benefitted from this world-class education, I feel an obligation to help the University move forward with these goals, and am grateful to have been able to create the Azul Foundation to assist in causes just like this.
What’s really wonderful is that the University of Michigan is not alone in this endeavor. In a recent interview, Robert Kocher of the Brookings Institution and Peter Bach of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center said that they both believe medical school should be free to students. Relieving students of the estimated $155,000+ each owes on average upon graduation will certainly have a serious impact on filling the growing need for primary care and specialist physicians that the U.S. is facing, and will be a major contribution toward creating a thriving health care system. The medical industry has grown tremendously in the past twenty years, largely due to an aging population. The average person in America spends a little over $9,000 each year on health care. In 2012 alone, the cost of health care was $2.8 trillion, and well-trained doctors are a must for the future. This intriguing interview can be here.
As parents, Kristen and I have always placed a very high value on a quality education for our children. As caring members of the community, we have been fortunate to be able to create the Azul Foundation. As University of Michigan graduates, we take great pride in the education we received in Ann Arbor and are thrilled to be able to give back in assisting a present student with his or her medical education. Go Blue!!