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Nov 5, 2021

36 Students Get Scholarships To Pursue Medical Careers

Thirty-six aspiring doctors received scholarships today to begin pursuing their goals. The opportunity was made possible for them through collaboration between the Belmopan City Council and American Northwest University. It’s a unique effort that will benefit students even outside the Belmopan proper. Marion Ali was on hand and filed this report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

In six year’s time, these thirty-six students will be enlisted in Belize’s healthcare system. Today they are the proud recipients of scholarships to take up their favorite area of study in the medical profession. They were required to submit their credentials to be considered for their award. Among the key components was academic excellence. Christopher Bowen has his eyes on the nation’s only referral public hospital when he completes his course.


Christopher Bowen, Medical scholarship recipient

“This is a general medicine program so I hope that I can do the six years and upon completion I will be a medical doctor, hopefully. That’s the goal. I plan to work here in Belize. I want to work at the KHMH. I know there’s a demand there for doctors and Belize has a higher demand for necessitous people. I want to do a lot when it comes to medicine in Belize. There are a few organizations such as the palliative care, the cancer society and stuff like that I’m really interested in.”



For Nailea Novelo, her goal is to continue even further into a special field of study, but she’ll have to choose between neurosurgery and surgeries on the upper body.


Nailea Novelo

Nailea Novelo, Medical scholarship recipient

“A cardio-thoracic is a doctor who specializes in operating in the thorax, the lungs, the heart – everything from here to here (gesturing from throat to stomach), and then for neuro (surgery) it’s mostly the brain, the spine, our nervous system.”

Marion Ali

“Both of them?”


Nailea Novelo

“No. I want to specialize in either one of them.”


Marion Ali

“What will determine which one you select?”


Nailea Novelo

“In the clinical rotation, whichever one I fall in love with more because two of them are really challenging surgeries.”


The students’ opportunity is the brainchild of Belmopan Mayor, Sheran Palacio who told News Five that she decided to engage the top brass of the university, which also has a facility in Belmopan.


Sheran Palacio

Sheran Palacio, Mayor, Belmopan

“We spent countless hours finalizing what we wanted and I must say that myself as Mayor, advocated for the students to receive full scholarships, and so we got ten or twelve full scholarship and all others ninety percent funding. We also believe in sharing. I’m a part of the Mayors’ Association and so I represent countrywide. I must say I’m very excited. Having such a number of scholarships – it is not common.”


What’s also uncommon is that Palacio has to work along with her daughter, Mystery Furtado, who is the CEO of the university, to see the initiative come to fruition.


Mystery Furtado

Mystery Furtado, CEO, American Northwest University

“I don’t believe that our relation of (her being) my mother has anything to do with this role. I have been living in Canada for quite a few years now and I was contacted by the university. I went through an extensive interview process. In her role, she was able to collaborate with American Northwest University and request much-needed scholarships so that we can start to train our own people inside our country. We’re doing four years here in Belize and the last two years of internship will be done abroad, but we’re hoping that by then we’ll be able to provide those interns here in Belize so that they won’t need to travel at all but the exposure to connect with our bigger university is for sure, a must.”


Ten of the scholars will receive a hundred percent funding while the remaining thirty will get ninety percent sponsorship. Collectively, the scholarships over the six-year period are worth around six million dollars. Marion Ali For News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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