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Scholarship Helps Firefighter Realize Dream

Jared Bentley

Physicians of Tomorrow recipient Jared Bentley, MD, with son Jaxon

AMA Foundation Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship recipient Jared Bentley planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an auto mechanic.  His path took an unexpected turn when he finished first in his vocational training class and won a local grant for full tuition at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio, near his hometown of Minford. 

“I initially planned to do firefighting and emergency medical technician work, but when I began working with the squad I found a love for medicine.  So, I worked nights at the fire department so I could go back to Shawnee State and finish my biology degree,” said Dr. Bentley, who recently graduated from the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine. 

Dr. Bentley has a wife and young son at home, and said his parents do not have the financial resources to fund his medical school or to help with the cost of traveling to residency program interviews. “The AMA Foundation ‘Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship’ was a tremendous help on so many levels,” commented Dr. Bentley. “Before the scholarship we were looking into taking out additional loans so I could travel for residency program interviews. It was starting to look like I would have had to forego the opportunity to interview at top programs outside of the region, but then the scholarship really came through.”

“Although the scholarship did cover expenses associated with interviewing. Most of the award went toward reducing the debt burden I have been accumulating over the past four years.  Reducing my debt will better enable me to play a more active role in research and science education at all levels – high school and beyond – once I return to Southern Ohio,” he continued.

Dr. Bentley ranked first in his medical school class and has earned the highest possible grade in every medical school course he has taken.  The Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship recipients are selected based on academic achievement and financial need.

“The Physicians of Tomorrow Scholarship recipients display the characteristics that will provide them a strong foundation as physicians: compassion, intelligence, community involvement and leadership,” said AMA Foundation President Richard Hovland, CPA. “By alleviating their debt load, we provide them the financial relief and encouragement they need so they can follow their career interests without regard to income potential.”

Dr. Bentley said, “I would like to thank everyone who donates to the AMA Foundation for giving me opportunities I wouldn’t have had without your support.  The scholarship was life-changing for me and my family. I also plan on it being life changing for the people of my hometown as well. I promise you my future is wise investment.”

Because Werner E. Zeller, MD, felt that medical scholarships are important, he asked his family to make a gift to the AMA Foundation educational fund upon his death. “My father would be pleased to know that his estate helped Dr. Bentley through medical school.  He practiced for 50 years at Providence Medical Center in Portland, taught surgery at the University of Oregon, and took on residents who wouldn’t have been the most likely candidates to be doctors in their day,” said Richard Zeller, PhD, the son of Dr. Zeller.

Dr. Bentley married his high school sweetheart in the time between undergraduate and medical school.  They had their first child during his third year of medical school.  After completing residency and training, he would like to move back to rural southeastern Ohio, which is an underserved area that has difficulty recruiting specialists.  “I would like to go back and help out the community that has done so much for me,” said Dr. Bentley.

Watch a video from Dr. Bentley, his wife Brittany, and their son Jaxon thanking the donors of the AMA Foundation for supporting their future.

Gifts to support the AMA Foundation’s scholarships may be made online.