Medical scholarship to bring doctors to Orleans doubles to $144K

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 25 August 2022 at 9:49 am

Photo by Tom Rivers: Dr. Arthur Mruczek, an ophthalmologist and member of the Orleans County Medical Scholarship Board, shares with the County Legislature on Wednesday that the Lyndonville Area Foundation has matched the county’s $72,000 commitment for a medical scholarship. He said the $144,000 total is one of the biggest medical scholarships available in the state. He is joined by Russ Martino, left, of the Lyndonville Area Foundation.

ALBION – Orleans County has a new incentive to bring doctors to serve the community: one of the most lucrative scholarships available in the state.

Orleans County can now offer a medical scholarship for $144,000 over four years. The County Legislature in December 2021 voted to increase the size of scholarship from $36,000 to $72,000. The Lyndonville Area Foundation has since voted to match that amount, bringing the total to $144,000.

“We’re in desperate need of doctors,” said Lynne Johnson, the County Legislature chairwoman and a member of the board of directors for both Orleans Community health and the Lyndonville Area Foundation.

Dr. Arthur Mruczek, an ophthalmologist and member of the Orleans County Medical Scholarship Board, said the $144,000 is one of the largest medical scholarships available in the state. The $36,000 annually for four years would cover about 60 percent of the $60,000 annually to be in medical school, Mruczek said.

The county needs to promote the scholarship locally and at medical schools, he said. Mruczek believes the scholarship would get medical students’ attention, and should result in doctors making a commitment to serve in Orleans County after they graduate.

They would need to commit five years to the county to get the scholarship. Mruczek believes many would stay more than five years once they stay and get connected to the community. He said Orleans County residents in medical school would be given preference for the scholarship.

Mruczek,a Corfu native, was the first recipient of the medical scholarship in Orleans County back in 1969. He received $18,000 in the scholarship and went on to work in a long career as an ophthalmologist in Medina.

Other scholarships recipients who served in Orleans include Frank Cutson, Joseph Misiti, Deborah Preishel (White), Eric Johnson and Celeste Stahl Balaban.

Others were approved for the scholarship but they decided not to practice in Orleans County and paid back the scholarship.

“I’m passionate about bringing doctors here because you gave me an opportunity that was beyond my expectations,” Mruczek told county legislators on Wednesday.

He said the big scholarship is “an incredible product” that should bring medical talent to the rural community, where the pay is typically much less than in the suburban and city hospitals and healthcare facilities.

“It’s a nice opportunity to get fresh blood in Orleans County,” he said.

For information about the scholarship, contact the County Legislature office at 585-589-7053.