Winston-Salem native receives ECU’s most prestigious scholarship

Heerali Patel

Winston-Salem native receives ECU’s most prestigious scholarship
September 10
12:00 2020

GREENVILLE—A Winston-Salem native at ECU’s Brody School of Medicine has been awarded the university’s most prestigious scholarship. Heerali Patel has been chosen for the Class of 2024 Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $115,000. She is one of three students selected for the award this year.

As a Brody Scholar, Patel will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design her own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects she may undertake while in medical school.

Since the program began in 1983, 146 students have received scholarships. About 75% of Brody Scholars remain in North Carolina to practice, and the majority of those stay in eastern North Carolina.

Patel, the daughter of Sandip Patel and Kirti Patel of Winston-Salem, graduated from Mount Tabor High School. She graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and minor degrees in chemistry and neuroscience.

While pursuing her undergraduate degree, Patel worked as a tutor for the UNC Learning Center and served as a member, co-publicity chair and co-president of the NC-HCAP Health Careers Club, a health disparities organization that helps students become applicants for health profession programs.

When her mother, at age 40, battled stage three colorectal cancer, Patel’s interest in medicine was ignited.

“The patient-physician relationships built with my mother strongly resonated with me and showed me how compassion and empathy can truly benefit patient outcomes, even in the darkest of times,” she said. “I knew I wanted to become a physician in order to not only support my patients through their worst times, but also commit to helping them improve their lives so that they can pursue their passions.”

Patel said the areas of pediatrics and family medicine appeal to her most right now, but she’s also very passionate about molecular biology and genetics due to their widespread relevance in all fields of medicine.

“I would like to be a supportive and competent figure for my patients, continue giving back to the community, and either teach or mentor future physicians,” she said.

Patel said her life has been changed by the Brody family and their incredible support of the Brody Scholar award.

“Being a Brody Scholar allows me to pursue my passions and focus on my studies without worrying about student debt,” she said. “This honor enables me to focus on developing critical skills to provide my future patients with detail-oriented and compassionate care.”

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