by Kate Alfano, CMS Director of Communications and Marketing

Congratulations to first-year students from the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine who were each awarded $4,000 scholarships from the Colorado Medical Society Education Foundation (CMS EF). Awardees are Carly Forest, Joseph Melius and Nicholas Slaboden. Gabrielle Coleman is the recipient of the Maribeth and Jack Berry Scholarship and Theresa Tafoya is the recipient of the William Gerald Rainer Scholarship.

CMS EF, a 501(c)(3) private foundation, has a mission to render financial support to select first-year medical students at UCSOM and RVU. Student scholarships are based on criteria such as the student’s financial status, academic achievement and desire to practice in rural or underserved areas upon graduation.

The CMS EF Board is thankful for the generous financial contributions and support from CMS members and others who make these education scholarships possible. You can contribute to the CMS Education Foundation at

2022-2023 scholarship recipients

Gabrielle Coleman is in the rural training track at CUSOM and aims to practice in rural Colorado. “I view rural medicine as the best of career and personal life,” Coleman wrote in her application letter. “These opportunities for creativity, problem solving, and enduring relationships are far and away the most alluring aspects of medicine to me. Then, when the workday is done, there exists a close-knit community to engage with, a special way to know and be known by others.”

Carly Forest is also in the rural training track at CUSOM and aims to practice in rural Colorado. She will complete a rural clerkship in Salida, Colo., this year and is the current president of the Family Medicine Interest Group. “Over and over again, I am reminded of the great diversity of family medicine,” Forest wrote in her application letter.” However, there is no place where that diversity is so apparent as in rural medicine. In this setting, a physician’s scope of practice is only dependent upon personal limits. I love this aspect of rural medicine. You can have a broad scope and still be a primary care physician – after all, there’s a reason primary medicine is primary.”

Joseph Melius is in the rural and wilderness medicine track at RVU and aims to return to rural Yampa Valley to practice full-spectrum medicine including obstetrics, mental health care and emergency medicine. “The people of rural Colorado need and deserve health care professionals who know their culture and care about their individual community’s wellbeing,” Melius wrote in his application letter. “I’ve identified a task that needs doing and it ‘ain’t gonna’ do it itself. It’s time to make myself useful.”

Nicholas Slaboden is also in the rural and wilderness medicine track at RVU. In addition to pursuing a DO, he has a master’s degree in biomedical sciences. “I grew up in an underserved health care community and I understand the struggle of having to travel long distances to get the most basic of care,” Slaboden wrote in his application letter. “I can empathize with my future rural Colorado community. I have every intent on becoming a rural-worthy physician, able to bring patients better access to health care.”

Theresa Tafoya is in the rural training track at CUSOM and aims to practice in Montrose County. “I cannot tell you where or how I will do things in the future, but I can tell you what I hope for,” Tafoya wrote in her application letter. “I hope to love fiercely, strive for excellence, and challenge disparities. I hope to become a kind, compassionate, just, and honest person and physician.”

Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine