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Miller School Donors and Scholars Celebrate at Annual Event

A freak accident while on vacation at the age of 13 with her family in Haiti foreshadowed an eventual path to medical school for Frantzia M. Jeanty, an M.D./M.P.H. candidate in the Miller School Class of 2025. She relayed the story on Saturday, April 22, at the Miller School of Medicine Donors and Scholars Celebration at the Lakeside Village Auditorium on the Coral Gables campus.

M.D./M.P.H. student Frantzia M. Jeanty.
Student speaker Frantzia M. Jeanty, winner of the John K. Robinson Scholarship.

“A coconut fell from a tree and hit a man on the head, opening up a deep wound on his face,” remembered Jeanty. “I gathered some supplies and applied some rudimentary first aid and the man and his friends were just in awe of what I had done.” She said she quickly learned two things that day, not to sit under a coconut tree, and “the disconcerting gap in basic first aid education between me, a teenager raised in the United States, and an adult man from Haiti, was an issue present in similar underserved communities all over the world.”

As a second-year medical student, Jeanty is supported by funds from The John K. Robinson Scholarship, which has allowed her to deepen her commitment to service in her community. “Without the burden of substantial debt as a first-generation student, without the generosity of donors such as all of you, I might not have been able to work as DOCS staff at the free Center for Haitian Studies clinic, or to assist in groundbreaking research on disparities in breast and ovarian cancer outcomes,” Jeanty said. “For this, I am deeply grateful to all of you.”

Students Share Their Hopes and Dreams

Donors Francisco Flores, M.D. ’95, and Edmond (E.J.) Gong, Jr. make the "U."
From left, donors Francisco Flores, M.D. ’95, and Edmond (E.J.) Gong, Jr.

Jeanty’s gratitude was echoed by many of the other Miller students in attendance for the annual event, which celebrates donors who have contributed to medical education scholarships. The event provided the opportunity for the donors to meet the students and learn more about their hopes and dreams.

Miller School Dean and Chief Academic Officer Dr. Henri R. Ford also expressed his appreciation to the donors.

“Without your extraordinary support, the Miller School would not be what it is today,” Dean Ford said. “It is your generosity that makes it possible to attract the very best talent, people with inquisitive minds who challenge the status quo. That’s how we are going to advance medicine and come up with new cures. You allow us to help students reach their full potential.”

From left, Frank Czerwiec, M.D. ’90, Ph.D. ’90, Kendall W. Liang, M.D. Candidate, Class of 2026, Sheri Hamersley, M.D. ’90, and Dean Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.
From left, Frank Czerwiec, M.D. ’90, Ph.D. ’90, Fogel Scholarship recipient Kendall W. Liang, M.D. Candidate, Class of 2026, Sheri Hamersley, M.D. ’90, and Dean Henri R. Ford, M.D., M.H.A.

Dean Ford also paid tribute to three visionary leaders who passed away and were critically important to the Miller School and its students, including Karl Muench, M.D. “He was a professor of medicine and genetics for 53 years,” Dean Ford said. “He was loved by everyone and especially revered by our students who were able to learn from one of the very best.”

The dean also recognized long-time University of Miami trustee Paul J. DiMare, who died last December, and former Dean Bernard J. Fogel, M.D., who passed in March of last year. DiMare and his wife, Swanee, made an historic $6 million commitment to medical scholarships that will benefit students for years to come. In honor of Dr. Fogel’s legacy and impact on the school, the Bernard J. Fogel, M.D. ’61 Memorial Scholarship was established and endowed by two Miller School alumni: Sheri Hamersley and Frank Czerwiec from the Class of 1990.

Click here to learn more about supporting medical scholars.

Tags: Dean Henri Ford, Dr. Bernard Fogel, Dr. Frank Czerwiec, Dr. Sheri Hamersley, Miller School of Medicine Donors and Scholars Celebration