Miguel Parilo 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. Parilo 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. Parilo has made a two-year commitment to practice in the Dayton area after completing his residency training in internal medicine at Wright State's affiliated teaching hospitals.
According to Parilo, his career direction was influenced by two prominent older men -- an early caretaker and a family doctor. "I came to the United States from Chile with my family when I was just a few months old. We lived in Cleveland with a retired school principal, Robert Meeks. He was in his 70's then," Parilo explains.
Meeks helped to care for Parilo when his parents were at work. "I looked up to him and emulated him," Parilo says.
At age six, Parilo's family moved to Centerville, Ohio, where he acquired another role model. Dr. Fernando Perez was his family's internist. "He's from Cuba, so he could speak to us in Spanish and understand more about us," Parilo says. "I really looked up to him throughout adolescence and began to see what caring for people, from a young age all the way through life, was all about. I am motivated both by the chance to tackle the complexities of geriatric care productively and by my respect toward the gracious attitudes of so many older people."
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 Parilo and three of his classmates. In the future, two $25,000 scholarships will be awarded annually.