15, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- In
his first year of medical school, Michael Schafer,
class of 2003, joined a group of students to expand
and improve the student-run clinic at the Salvation
Army in Lexington. He didn't know this community service
project would lead to a reward a couple of years later.
Schafer was honored as a Pisacano Scholar - the first
in the college's history. The national honor is named
for Nicholas J. Pisacano who actually held many positions
at UK, including: member of the Board of Trustees,
assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences,
director of continuing medical education at the UK
Chandler Medical Center, and assistant to the vice
president at the Medical Center. He came to UK in
1962 and was voted UK's most popular professor in
helped the field of family practice become one of
the major specialties in medicine. When the American
Board of Family Practice was founded in 1969, he became
the organization's first executive director and remained
so until January 1990.
was one of only four scholars chosen this year. Pisacano
Scholars are physicians-in-training who have chosen
family practice as their specialty and have demonstrated
leadership skills, academic achievement, and a level
of community service.
have worked primarily in industry or some type of
service capacity for most of my life," Schafer
said. "From this I have learned that the most
effective way to lead is to be of service. I believe
that this type of leadership philosophy and my experiences
in leading church ministries and the reorganization
of a medical student-run free clinic are part of the
reason I was chosen to be a Pisacano Scholar."
help of Schafer, UK's medical students were able to
raise approximately $70,000 in grants and private
donations so services could be expanded at the Salvation
Army Student-Run Free Clinic.
in 1986, the clinic offers free medical care to residents
of the Salvation Army Clinic and others who can't
afford care. It's open from 5:30 to 8 p.m. on Tuesdays
and Thursdays and generally serves up to 10 patients
a night. Medical students and an attending physician
staff the clinic.
didn't want to wait until we graduated to help people,"
Schafer said. "We saw all of the wonderful things
going on at the Salvation Army Clinic and wanted to
build on what was already a success story.
bringing students on board in the first year, we hope
to give them a sense of ownership in the clinic from
the start of their medical school career and provide
better continuity," Schafer said.
at UK are not surprised by Schafer's success.
has all the characteristics of being a Nicholas Pisacano
Scholar," said Wanda Gonsalves, residency director
and assistant professor of family practice in the
UK College of Medicine, who helped guide the medical
students to the Salvation Army Clinic project.
"He is extremely bright, he has excellent leadership
skills, with the ability to empower others to achieve
the common good for themselves and for the community,
and he is genuinely caring," Gonsalves said.
"I can't think of one more deserving."
with a bachelor of science degree in biology from
Northern Kentucky University, Schafer was a minister
for a year in his hometown. Before going to medical
school, Schafer also worked for five years as a senior
research associate with Proctor & Gamble, where
he was the co-inventor of four patents.
For his efforts, Schafer was awarded the community
service award from the UK College of Medicine. In
addition, he assisted UK's residency program director
in developing a community/service-learning elective,
the first of its kind for UK.
authored a number of presentations, including co-authoring
a proposal to the Kentucky Legislature last year to
obtain funding for a family practice faculty member
to work with the medical students at the Student-Run
Free Clinic and the Kentucky Free Clinic Association.
and other Pisacano Scholars will meet with some of
the best-known leaders in family practice during his
last year of medical school and during his residency.
future, Schafer wants to complete his residency in
the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati area and practice
near his hometown in Alexandria, Ky.