A new state scholarship covers the cost of medical school for students if they promise to practice medicine in rural Oregon for five years.

Oregon lawmakers have set aside $2.5 million dollars for the Scholars for Healthy Oregon program, marketed toward students at OHSU.

“People don’t understand how tough it is to get good care out here,” said OHSU student Margo Roemeling as she walked the grounds of her childhood home in Albany. Poemeling is one of 21 medical, nursing, and dental students who were awarded the Scholarship this year, according to KGW.

The scholarship covers the entire cost of tuition at OHSU, as well as fees and book costs.

“I never thought this was possible,” said Roemeling. “I can leave school without any major debt.”

Oregon lawmakers realized that practicing medicine in rural areas could be a dealbreaker for many medical students, prompting the development of the scholarship.

“Students who grew up in rural areas are six times more likely to want to return to those areas,” explained OHSU Vice Provost David Robinson.

This was the perfect plan for Roemeling, who grew up in Albany and was always planning to return.

“I had a single mom who was addicted to drugs and alcohol, but that helped make me a caretaker and now I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

Emily Abbey is a Salem based student and writer. She loves cooking, coffee, and anything to do with the Pacific Northwest. She hopes to become a teacher, influencing students to write and make a difference in their corner of the world.