Pine Belt men granted $120K scholarships

By BETH BUNCH,

Two Hub City natives hope to one day provide a compassionate bedside manner while meeting the healthcare needs of their patients.

Max Bloomingburg and Tyler Daniels, both Oak Grove High School graduates, were each recently awarded a Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship valued at $30,000 per year for medical training at the University of Mississippi School of Medicine in Jackson. 

Bloomingburg is the son of Susan Bloomingburg of Hattiesburg and Henry Bloomingburg of Hollywood, S.C., while Daniels is the son of Kim Sanford and Tracy Daniels of Oak Grove.

Created in 2007, the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program is designed to provide more primary care physicians in rural areas of Mississippi.

Upon completion of medical training, MRPSP scholars must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/ gynecology or pediatrics. The MRPSP Scholar must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 20,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically-served area.

MRPSP provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school and to earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians. During medical school, each MRPSP scholar receives $30,000 per year based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of the MRPSP translates to 61 medical students receiving a total of $1,830,000 to support their education this fall.

A 2013 OGHS grade and 2017 Mississippi State University grad, Bloomingburg said the program interested him because “I enjoyed the idea of building long-lasting relationships with my future patients.

“Primary care had already interested me and in my shadowing experience I really enjoyed it,” he said.

Bloomingburg shadowed Dr. Bobby Jones of Hattiesburg Clinic, a Family Medicine physician at HC’s clinic in Seminary.

“I just loved the way he was able to interact and know each of his patients on a personal level,” Bloomingburg said. “And you could tell they really appreciated the fact that he was one of the very few physicians that the people of Seminary had and that he cared for them and their community.”

Daniels, who graduated from OGHS in 2014, attended Delta State University in Cleveland.

He grew up in what he considered a pretty small town in Florida before moving to Oak Grove.

“I felt that Primary Care would be a good fit for me because I like problem solving and getting to know people,” he said. And while he’s still four years away from a residency program, Daniels feels that Family Medicine might be a good fit. “But I’m open to learning about the other specialties,” he said, noting that this year psychiatry, which he finds interesting, was added to the list.

Bloomingburg has already some extra experience that’s proven worthwhile in his chosen field.

During his “gap year” between his undergraduate work and medical school, Bloomingburg had the opportunity to work at the Edwards Street Fellowship Health Clinic for a little more than a year.

“This experience enhanced my desire to work with and treat the medically underserved,” he said.

“I had no idea the disparity in health care and that there were people in my own hometown that did not have health insurance. Some of the patients had lived their whole lives in the area and had never seen a doctor before.”

He said he loved building relationships with those patients because it gave him a whole new perspective on his desire to practice medicine.

“In the future, I would love to either serve as a volunteer physician or take what I have learned and help start a new clinic in a different area that is in need,” he said.

Daniels things he would like to stay in the same place, unless another small town in an underserved area would be in greater need of a primary care physician.

“Medical school itself is a journey, but I am excited to get started,” Daniels said.

Bloomingburg is a newlywed, having married Ashton Martin on June 7. He said they had loved having this summer together before schools starts because they know things are about to get crazy with school starting soon.

“I am really unsure of where the Lord is going to lead my wife and I after residency training,” he said. “I love the Hattiesburg area so we definitely could end up in one of the surrounding areas of Hattiesburg in Purvis or Seminary or any of the other small towns in the area.”

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