TCOM grad creates scholarship to increase minorities in medicine
Dr. April Enard knows the statistics are bad. In the United States, the percentage of active African American physicians is at a meager five percent. That’s why Dr. Enard, a 2011 Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine alum, has made it her mission to change that figure, and she’s doing it with her own money.
In 2016, she began the “Dr. April Enard Minorities in Medicine Scholarship” for students from West Orange Start High School, her alma mater.
“This came from a passion of mine of wanting to be a black doctor, but also growing up never seeing a black doctor and that needs to change,” Dr. Enard said. “From my own personal experience, I never saw a minority doctor growing up and I felt an obligation and a calling to give back. This scholarship is for those who are interested in the medical field and for them to start thinking about careers in medicine.”
After completing her undergraduate at LSU, Dr. Enard enrolled in the medical science program and earned her master’s in clinical research management at HSC. From there she began her osteopathic journey at TCOM. Following her graduation, she did her residency in Conroe and has been in Sweetwater practicing family medicine and obstetrics since 2014.
Dr. Enard is passionate about her practice and her patients, while also feeling a sense of obligation to give back to her hometown. While in high school, Enard received a $1,000 scholarship from a West Orange Start graduate, and former Dallas Cowboy Kevin Smith. She was grateful for the scholarship and still remembers how impactful that was on her career.
West Orange Stark is made up 81 percent minority students, and 87 percent of students are economically disadvantage. Medical school, much less a career in medicine seems almost impossible, until Dr. Enard stepped in.
“A lot of minorities are intimidated by doctors, they think of being nurses or other medicine fields first,” she said. “But when they see me, a black doctor, from West Orange Stark High School, they can say, I can do that too.”
In 2016, Dr. Enard awarded four students with $1,000 scholarships, then five in 2017, six in 2018, three in 2019 and one in 2020. The scholarship money gives those students, who otherwise might not even consider medicine as a career, perhaps their first reason to look at the medical profession, all because of one role model in Sweetwater.
Dr. Enard has settled nicely into her family medicine and obstetric practice. She’s a familiar face in the town of around 10,000, from delivering newborns to seeing patients in her office during the week.
While the TCOM graduate is fulfilling the tenants of osteopathic medicine, she’s committed to bringing more minorities and African Americans into the profession. The first scholarship recipients are just now nearing the end of their undergraduate work, but Dr. Enard can’t help but think of how excited she will be when they enter the medical profession.
“It will make me feel wonderful to have supported their dreams,” Dr. Enard said. “I want to encourage them and talk to them more about medicine. There remains a huge disparity among African-Americans in the medical profession, but it’s a passion of mine to help change that.”