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Couple create their own loan-forgiveness fund

Margaret Hustad-Perrin, M.D., is concerned about the increasingly specialized future of medicine.

“Fewer and fewer people are choosing to go into primary care,” says the recently retired pediatrician and 1976 Medical School alumna.

Some studies have indicated that medical students are being steered away from primary care fields such as family medicine, internal medicine, and pediatrics at least partly because they offer less earning potential than subspecialties. With the way the medical system is set up today, Hustad-Perrin says, “physicians tend to be better compensated for doing procedures than for spending more time with patients.”

So to encourage students who are passionate about primary care to stick with it, she and her husband, David Perrin, M.S.W., have set aside $1 million in their estate plan to create a loanforgiveness fund for those who plan to pursue primary-care pediatrics, primarycare internal medicine, family medicine, medicine-pediatrics, or psychiatry.

Whereas a traditional scholarship would provide the financial support regardless of changes in the recipients’ career paths, loans through this fund will be forgiven at a prorated amount — about 20 percent for each of five years — as the recipients continue their careers in primary care.

“To the small degree we can make it possible,” Perrin says, “we want to make sure that money does not sway the decision.”

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