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This fundraiser ended on 10/29/12

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To carry on Bruce Simmon's legacy by helping his daughter with medical school expenses.

To Bruce’s BMS Family and Friends,

“Actions speak Louder than Words” was echoed loud and strong at Bruce’s service last Wednesday. For all of us receiving this message, we have all been impacted by Bruce Simmon’s Positive Actions over his tenure at BMS during the past 12 years.

In keeping with Bruce’s motto of “I got you”, we now have the opportunity to do the same for Bruce’s family. JaNea', Bruce’s daughter, is on a mission to complete her medical school studies. Quoted from her attached letter, JaNea' states that, “As a physician dedicated to serving the underserved, I plan to be a voice of change within the medical community to ensure that everyone has quality healthcare.” To assist JaNea' in continuing her father’s legacy, we are reaching out to you to help JaNea' complete the dream that her Father envisioned for her.

Below is the letter from JaNea':

Hello, my name is Gigi JaNea’ Simmons daughter of Bruce E. Simmons. I am a fourth year student at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM) in Havana, Cuba. The style of medicine I am learning is based on the universal healthcare system of Cuba and focuses on the basics of medicine as well as preventative care.

Established in 1999 and operated by the Cuban government, ELAM has been described as possibly being the largest medical school in the world with students from 49 countries enrolled. All those enrolled are international students from outside Cuba and mainly come from Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Africa. The school also accepts students from the United States.

The mission of ELAM is to make competent and cooperative doctors with the degree of MD (doctor of medicine), the same degree which is offered to medical graduates all over the Americas including the US. ELAM is officially recognized by the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) and the World Health Organization. It is also fully accredited by the Medical Board of California, which has the strictest US standards—which means that qualified US graduates of ELAM are eligible to apply for residency placements in any state of the US. It is preferred that ELAM students come from the poorest communities with the intent of returning to practice in those areas in their countries. Preference is given to applicants who are financially needy and/or people of color who show the most commitment to working in their poor communities.

ELAM was first conceived from an idea by President Fidel Castro himself as part of Cuba's humanitarian and development aid response (known as the "Integral Health Plan for Central America and the Caribbean”) to the devastation caused by Hurricane Georges and Hurricane Mitch in 1998, which affected several countries in Central America and the Caribbean, including Cuba. Five-hundred full medical scholarships per year for the next decade were offered by the Cuban government to students from 4 countries - the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras and Nicaragua - seriously affected by the hurricanes. In the upcoming years, the scholarship opportunities were expanded to other countries.

In June 2000, a US Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) delegation visited Cuba to meet with Castro. Representative Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) mentioned to Castro that his district had a shortage of doctors, who responded by offering full scholarships for US nationals from Mississippi at ELAM. Later Castro publicly announced a further expanded offer allowing several hundred places at ELAM for medical students from low-income communities from any part of the USA. For more information on this opportunity please visit

As a recipient of this great opportunity, I am striving to become an Internal Medicine physician. As a physician of adult health, I will provide patient based, goal-oriented healthcare in which my patients are educated about their health problems and actively involved in their improvement. In addition, as a bilingual physician I will be able to reach more people without the worry of language barriers. There are many places throughout the US that are without a physician for miles. For this reason, many people are un-diagnosed or mis-diagnosed, and are using the emergency department as their primary physicians. This is something that needs to be changed. As a physician dedicated to serving the underserved, I plan to be a voice of change within the medical community to ensure that everyone has quality healthcare.

The scholarship provided by Cuba covers all of my medical school expenses. However, my financial responsibilities include travel between the US and Cuba, expenses needed to live in Cuba and preparatory expenses associated with studying and passing the US Medical Licensure Exam (USMLE). The USMLE is required by every physician to practice in the US. It is critical that I continue my medical education not only for myself, but for my family, friends, and those underserved individuals throughout the US that are in need of the patient based, quality healthcare that I know I can provide. Your donations are greatly appreciated and will assist me in continuing the legacy of my father, Bruce E. Simmons.

In Solidarity,
Gigi JaNea’ Simmons
M.D. Candidate 2015
Escuela Latinoamericana de Medicina
Habana, Cuba
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