Colorado physicians can help society reach second fundraising goal

by Kate Alfano, CMS Director of Communications and Marketing

The Mile-High Medical Society (MHMS) named its first official recipients of the Charles J. Blackwood, MD, Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund in September 2021.

Congratulations to the Blackwood Scholars, class of 2025:

  • Karima Osman
  • Tyler (Benji) Benjamin
  • Codi Hortsman
  • Mohamoud Ahmed

MHMS originally established a scholarship in 2016 and, after a successful fundraising effort, named Marcus Marable the first recipient of the scholarship in 2017. Recognizing the need to to create new opportunities in medical education; help develop a more diverse, inclusive health care workforce for Colorado’s under-served communities; and support students historically underrepresented in health care, MHMS started an endowed fund. It is named for Charles J. Blackwood, MD, who in 1947 became the first African American graduate of CUSOM. He would have been 100 years old in 2021.

The Blackwood Endowed Memorial Scholarship Fund provides full scholarships to one or more students each year pursuing a medical degree at the University of Colorado School of Medicine (CUSOM). But there is still work to do. CUSOM Dean John J. Reilly Jr. pledged to support the endowment dollar for dollar up to $2 million. The first $1 million milestone was reached in February 2021, allowing for the first awards.

“This was such a daunting task for a small medical society, but we weren’t willing to give up,” said Terri Richardson, MD, lead of the endowment committee. "We felt it was important to do something and leave a lasting legacy for the organization and the community; a legacy to support the next generation of doctors."

She is joined on the endowment committee by Johnny Johnson, MD, MHMS president; Henry Frazier, MD; Nia Mitchell, MD; and Regina Richards, PhD, MSW. They are guided by CU development director Travis Leiker, MPA.

Even in present day there are disparities,” Richardson said. “We receive calls from patients requesting referrals to Black physicians, but we don’t have enough medical providers to meet this need. Unfortunately, there is still lack of trust in Black communities due to things that happened in the past.”

There are two years left to raise the remaining funds. Donations may be made online with a credit card, ACH transfer, or by written check. Find more information or donate online at https://giving.cu.edu/fund/mile-high-medical-society-endowed-scholarship-fund.


Categories: Communications, Colorado Medicine