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Scholarship Recipient Helps Others through Medicine

Jasmine Munoz grew up in Chicago's housing projects and now hopes to aid the health of underserved families by providing prenatal care.

Jasmine Munoz

Growing up in a Chicago housing project, Jasmine Munoz saw a lot of people who couldn’t afford health care. Medicare and Medicaid weren’t readily available then, and she often saw people with chronic illnesses — hypertension, diabetes — who wouldn’t even try to see a doctor, making the problems worse. Munoz, now a fourth-year at Rush Medical College, knew then that she would eventually be a doctor, to help people rather than make money.

But paying for medical school hasn’t been easy for Munoz. She has received a lot of support from Rush, both financial and academic — this year she received a Jerome & Ilene Cole Endowed Scholarship, one of six scholarships funded by a $1 million gift from the Jerome and Ilene Cole Foundation. The scholarships allowed Munoz to come to Rush, where she felt she’d be happier than at a state university medical school (even though the state school had a lower tuition). “Rush felt more cooperative among students,” Munoz said, “and I knew if I needed help, it would be there.”

Before she started at Rush, Munoz, who loves working with children, saw herself as a pediatrician. To test the waters, she took an internship at a local health center, helping teenagers with STD testing and family planning. She realized, however, that she could better care for children by providing prenatal care to the mothers; she could influence the mothers and, in turn, help their children.

In June, Munoz starts her OB/GYN residency at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. Even though she still faces significant debt after graduating, Munoz is thankful for the help she’s gotten from scholarships and is confident that the financial stress will eventually be worth it. “I will finish school,” she said. “I will be a doctor.”

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