HMS Public Service Initiative

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The Harvard Medical School Financial Aid Office is pleased to continue a debt-relief scholarship program targeted to graduating HMS students who have an intention of pursuing careers in public service. Funding for this program is currently available through 2015. The program, called the HMS Public Service Initiative, has been created as part of the graduate/professional Presidential Scholars financial aid initiative established by former President Lawrence H. Summers to make a Harvard education more accessible and affordable for talented students who wish to pursue careers in public service. The HMS Public Service Initiative is designed to relieve the loan obligation of selected graduating students of Harvard Medical School who meet the criteria listed below.

Eligibility for this program will include the following:

  • demonstrated career path in public service/policy*
  • practice and/or research that promotes public health or health policy
  • commitment to underserved communities (local or international)
  • international medicine (in resource poor settings)
  • demonstrated commitment to medical education that promotes public service

Note: All students meeting the criteria of public service are encouraged to apply. However, priority will be given to students who have accumulated educational debt in excess of $98,000.

*Priority for funding will be provided to students who meet the following criteria:

  • entrance into a primary care field/concentration: family medicine, pediatrics, internal medicine
  • demonstrated commitment to community service
  • demonstrated commitment to medical education that promotes community/public service
  • substantial commitment to clinical care in future career goals

*Applicants should explain their definition of public service in the Statement of Purpose, detailing how their past activities and future plans meet this definition of public service.

Application process

HMS students will apply to this program in their graduating year. The application process includes a Statement of Purpose, providing citations of the student's prior commitment to public service, an explanation regarding how the student's intended residency program further enhances this pursuit, and a detailed description of the student's intended career path in public service. Three letters of recommendation, one being the academic Dean's letter and two being from people knowledgeable about the student's public service work, are required. An official HMS transcript and the student's Curriculum Vitae are also required.

Interested candidates may apply by completing the Public Service Initiative Application. Completed applications should be submitted directly to the HMS Financial Aid Office, Gordon Hall Rm. 211. The application deadline is April 1, 2014.

Selection Process

Selection of recipients will be based upon a combination of factors, including the students' letters of recommendation and demonstrated commitment to public service. Financial need is a significant factor in the selection process. Recipients are determined once confirmation is received regarding a student's match in a residency program.

Award amounts will be based upon a percentage of a recipient's total HMS educational debt. Amounts will depend upon number of recipients selected.

A condition of this award will include an update to the HMS Financial Aid Office upon completion of one's residency program detailing the intended career path of the recipient and describing how the Presidential Scholars Public Service Initiative impacted the recipient's pursuit of that career path.

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of the best people committed to leadership in alleviating human suffering caused by disease