Jeff Bruni, a junior at Millsaps College, plans to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather and uncle, who are both pediatricians in his hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi.
“I want to be a physician to use my knowledge and gifts to help anyone and everyone,” Bruni said. “Seeing how my grandfather and uncle are able to effect so many peoples’ lives inspires me. They make a huge impact on my hometown when it comes to medical care. I want to be able to influence an underserved community as much as they do on a daily basis.”
Bruni is a participant in the undergraduate portion of the Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program, which identifies college sophomores and juniors who demonstrate the necessary commitment and academic achievement to become competent, well-trained rural primary care physicians in our state. The program offers undergraduate academic enrichment and a clinical experience in a rural setting. Upon completion of all medical school admissions requirements, the student can be admitted to the University of Mississippi School of Medicine or William Carey University College of Osteopathic Medicine.
During medical school, each Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program participant may receive $30,000 per year based on available funding. Consistent legislative support of MRPSP translated to 60 medical students receiving a total of $1,800,000 to support their education in the fall of 2018. Additional benefits include personalized mentoring from practicing rural physicians and academic support.
Upon completion of medical training, program participants must enter a residency program in one of five primary care specialties: family medicine, general internal medicine, medicine-pediatrics, obstetrics/gynecology, or pediatrics. The program participant must provide four years of service in a clinic-based practice in an approved Mississippi community of 15,000 or fewer population located more than 20 miles from a medically served area.
The Mississippi Rural Physicians Scholarship Program provides a means for rural Mississippi students to earn a seat in medical school, receive mentoring during the medical school application process, earn a $120,000 medical school scholarship in return for four years of service, and learn the art of healing from practicing rural physicians.
“What excites me most about the Rural Physicians Scholarship Program is having the expectation placed on me that I am needed for our state to become successful,” Bruni said. “Many areas of Mississippi do not provide the resources needed for families to have primary care near their homes, and knowing that I can be a part of something to change that means everything.”
Bruni, who transferred to Millsaps after attending Northern Kentucky University and then Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, comes from a family that believes in Millsaps. His mother and father, Angela and Jeff Bruni, B.S. 1990 and B.A. 1990, and his uncle, Tim Bruni, B.S. 1991, completed their education at Millsaps.
“My brother was looking to go to school here, and my sister is currently in dental school at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, so it made sense for all of us to be in the same area,” he said.
All of his classes at Millsaps have made academics exciting, especially those of Dr. Wolfgang H. Kramer, professor of chemistry, Bruni said. “He makes learning a very hard subject quite enjoyable and is always doing things outside of class time to help his students any way possible to be successful,” he said.
Bruni, along with his brother, Chris Bruni, a freshman, plays on the Millsaps men’s soccer team and is a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.