New Scholarships Implemented as part of Indigenous Pathway program

October 18, 2023

Sienna Guerrero looking on during the Indigenous Peoples Day march.

Sienna Guerrero, or Tekpachikuauhtli, looks on during the Indigenous Peoples Day march led by NAISO and ILSO on Monday, Oct. 10, 2022. 
Photo by Chloe Trofatter | The State News

Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine has established two new scholarships intended to support students dedicated to providing medical care to Indigenous communities in Michigan. The Board of Trustees approved the scholarships at their June meeting.

The Dr. Harry D. Brickley Endowed Scholarship in Human Medicine consists of $100,000 gifted by retired surgeon Harry Brickley. The Mashkiki Endowed Scholarship in Human Medicine matched the gift, bringing the total funding to $200,000.

Human Medicine Dean Aron Sousa said Brickley was particularly interested in supporting Indigenous students and increasing medical care for Indigenous communities. He said the scholarships add to the college’s larger Indigenous Pathway program.

The college is partnering with Bay Mills Community College, a tribally controlled college in the Upper Peninsula, to provide financial support and mentorship to Indigenous students on their way to medical school.

Sousa has also worked with the tribal health clinic of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians to provide clinical experience in tribal clinics to MSU students.

Sousa said the Indigenous Pathway program is a step towards improving health disparities faced by indigenous communities. He said MSU, as a university built on Indigenous land, has a responsibility to focus on those health disparities.

“There were encampments along the high ground on the Red Cedar River; that's where people were,” Sousa said. “And then they were pushed off of that land. It's still difficult for people in those communities to get access to health care or economic advancement. Society has a responsibility to try to do its best to be useful and we hope to be."

More information about the scholarships

This story originally appears in The State News.