Francine Oelrich has been chosen as one of the first recipients of the E.W. Kettering Family Scholarship for Geriatric Medicine at Wright State University School of Medicine. Oelrich is one of four graduating medical students at Wright State who received the $25,000 scholarship.
The Kettering scholarship is designed to encourage Wright State medical students to pursue careers in primary care medicine with an emphasis on patient care for Dayton's growing elderly population. Oelrich has made a two-year commitment to practice medicine in the Dayton area after completing her residency training in internal medicine at Riverside Methodist Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.
"While my overriding hope is to bring medical solutions to geriatric medicine, I think half of my motivation is based on my compassion for the elderly and the satisfaction I feel in working with them," she says.
"My father was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the age of 49, when I was only 9 years old," Oelrich explains. "I spent the next 15 years watching this debilitating disease take its toll, not only on my father, but also on my entire family. He died at the age of 64 -- when most Alzheimer's victims just begin to show symptoms. This experience left a very deep impression."
Virginia Kettering and the Kettering Family Fund endowed a $1 million scholarship at Wright State University in April 1996 to support geriatric medical education at the School of Medicine. The program was launched with scholarships awarded to Oelrich and three of her classmates. In the future, two $25,000 scholarships will be awarded annually.