2020 Aspirus Scholars named to tackle physician shortage

Aspirus Scholars

Recipients receive scholarships for future service at Aspirus

WAUSAU, Wis. – The Aspirus Health Foundation has awarded $550,000 in scholarships to four medical students from the Medical College of Wisconsin-Central Wisconsin Campus (MCW-CW).

The scholarships were awarded through the Foundation’s Aspirus Scholars Program, a community collaboration to address the national physician shortage and meet the needs of people and communities in north central Wisconsin and Upper Michigan today and for future generations.

The Aspirus Scholars Program provides generous scholarships for tuition to medical students and connects them to Aspirus and the communities served by Aspirus during their training. In return, students will commit to employment at Aspirus in the areas of primary care, psychiatry or general surgery.

The following Aspirus Scholars recipients have accepted scholarships in return for future employment with Aspirus:

  • Aleksander Downs, 2nd Year Medical Student (Hometown: Terre Haute, IN)
  • Satchel Beranek, 1st Year Medical Student (Hometown: Marathon, WI)
  • Mercedes Miller, 1st Year Medical Student (Hometown: Arcadia, WI)
  • Sarah Steffen, 1st Year Medical Student (Hometown: New Richmond, WI)

“Our Aspirus Scholars award recipients already have strong ties to north central Wisconsin as well as the U.P. of Michigan and are passionate about medicine and caring for patients,” said Kalynn Pempek, Executive Director of the Aspirus Health Foundation and Volunteer Services. “Each will be a tremendous addition to the Aspirus family and the communities we serve.”

The Aspirus Scholars Program is a forward-looking approach that could bring as many as 62 new primary care, psychiatry or general surgery providers to communities in north central Wisconsin and the upper peninsula of Michigan by the year 2030. It leverages the unique opportunity to collaborate with a college partner whose program is specifically designed to attract students interested in learning and working in community and rural settings.

A selection committee made up of Aspirus physicians and community members from Wisconsin and the U.P. of Michigan screened the applications and selected the fourth class of Aspirus Scholars.

“The local, state and national provider shortage is real, and the Aspirus Scholars Program was designed as an important approach to meet the needs of our communities for access to high-quality health care,” said Matthew Heywood, President & CEO of Aspirus, Inc. “The Aspirus Scholars Program is a great example of our commitment to ensuring our patients and families have access to the best health care providers to serve our patients today and for future generations.”

The Aspirus Scholars Program is made possible through contributions from community partners such as The Legacy Foundation of Central Wisconsin; Judd S. Alexander Foundation; Dwight and Linda Davis Foundation, B.A. & Esther Greenheck Foundation; Dudley Foundation, Molinaro Family, and individual donors.

Vital investments were also made by Aspirus Ironwood Hospital (Ironwood, Mich.); Aspirus Iron River Hospital (Iron River, Mich.);  Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital (Laurium, Mich.); Aspirus Langlade Hospital (Antigo, Wis.); Aspirus Medford Hospital; Aspirus Ontonagon Hospital (Ontonagon, Mich.); Aspirus Riverview Hospital (Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.); and Aspirus Wausau Hospital.