My parents have always served as role models for how to help others, and this scholarship joins a long list of examples they have set throughout my life.
— Dr. Rachel Katz
This year’s Rachel Katz and Robert Sidlow Scholarship recipient, Ashley Force, Class of 2022, was similarly inspired by her own mother’s path. Born and raised in St. Petersburg, Florida, Ms. Force developed a love of medicine at a young age. Her mother, Estella Martinez, emigrated to the United States from Colombia and worked as a healthcare aide to put herself through nursing school.
Ms. Force would often accompany her mother to nursing homes and assisted-living residences and would help her mother prepare for exams at the dining room table, holding a stack of flash cards and quizzing her. The study sessions launched a mother’s career in nursing and sparked a daughter’s direction in life.
“I was so enthusiastic about all the things my mother was learning,” Ms. Force says. “I found the body to be fascinating and was genuinely moved by the science.”
After graduating summa cum laude from the University of Florida, Ms. Force applied to medical schools up and down the East Coast. Her visit to Einstein made the choice easy. Not only was everyone warm and engaging, but Ms. Force also loved how passionate the professors were about teaching.
Einstein is a place where people encourage and nurture medical students of all backgrounds. Because of the Katz family, I can focus more on why I came here and less on how I’ll stay.
— Ashley Force
With the cost of medical education constantly increasing, philanthropy becomes ever more important. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), the medical school class of 2019 had a four-year cost of attendance of more than $330,000 for students enrolled in private institutions and more than $250,000 for those in public medical schools. The median debt load for U.S. medical students is $200,000, as calculated by the AAMC in October 2019.
The Katz family recognizes the monetary sacrifices required for an Einstein education, and Dr. Katz says she is proud that her parents’ scholarship has already assisted several students. As with all scholarships, an internal leadership committee selects recipients each year.
When Ms. Force learned that she had received the Rachel Katz and Robert Sidlow Scholarship, she says, she “couldn’t have been happier. Einstein is a place where people encourage and nurture medical students of all backgrounds, a place where people do whatever is possible to help those students accomplish their goals. Because of the Katz family, I can focus more on why I came here and less on how I’ll stay.”
Ms. Force has a particular interest in spinal surgery, though she doesn’t know for sure what her professional future will hold. What she does know is that she will forever appreciate the Katz family for helping her.
“I’m here because someone who came before me cared—and I mean that about my mother, who set such a strong example, as well as the Katz family,” Ms. Force says. “The power of the narrative is not lost on me, especially in the field of compassionate medicine.”
Ms. Force is passing on that generosity of spirit. She is the treasurer of the Einstein chapter of Building the Next Generation of Academic Physicians, an organization that provides medical students and residents from diverse backgrounds with the resources to start careers in academic medicine.
Adds Dr. Katz: “I believe it is our job in life to help each other—across families and across generations. I am proud of my parents, how they have lived their lives, and how they are providing for future generations.”