Foster Scholar’s Emergency Medicine Training Benefits His Community

In 2007, El Paso businessman Paul L. Foster donated $50 million to help create the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. His gift has also funded the tuition of more than 140 medical students, known as the Foster Scholars. This academic year, the Foster Scholars program has awarded 90 students scholarships totaling $1.8 million; 78 students have received $15,000 Foster Scholarships, and 12 students have received $1,000 scholarships along with a non-resident tuition waiver.

El Paso native Samuel Garcia is a Foster Scholar graduating from the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine this May. He graduated from UTEP with a bachelor’s degree in microbiology.

Samuel Garcia

Samuel Garcia

Garcia said he was inspired at a young age to pursue medicine, when he witnessed first responders care for his mother, who had suffered a heart attack.

“In the midst of her cardiac arrest, it was the rapid response and compassionate care by the volunteer fire department that provided me the opportunity to ever see my mother again,” Garcia said. “I was only nine years old, but it was then that I made the decision to devote my life to be like those selfless men and women, caring and serving people in the time of their greatest need.”

Thanks to the support of the Foster Scholars program, Garcia said he has been able to focus on serving his community at Centro De Los Trabajadores Agricolas Fronterizos, a student-run free clinic he helped found. The clinic serves agricultural farmworkers on the U.S.-Mexico border.

Garcia has also served as a firefighter and emergency medical technician for four years with the volunteer fire department in Horizon City, a community of about 20,000 in East El Paso County.

In a thank-you letter to Foster, Garcia wrote: “I am most thankful for your generosity … You have inspired me to help those in need and to always give back to my community. As you have paved the way for me, I too, hope to one day pave the way for many who follow behind me.”

After graduation, Garcia will start his residency in June at the Mayo Clinic School of Graduate Medical Education in Minnesota, where he will study emergency medicine.