An endowed scholarship fund to train doctors, nurses and physician assistants in Liberia was announced Monday by Texas Health Resources, the family of Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan and SIM USA, a mission organization.
The hospital company donated $125,000 in seed money to the Thomas Eric Duncan Endowed Chair, said Dr. Jeffrey Canose, THR’s chief operating officer.
He said the educational fund was intended to “honor Mr. Duncan’s memory” and fulfill a commitment the company had made to the Duncan family. Duncan, a Liberian native, came to Dallas last fall and subsequently developed Ebola, a viral disease that often is fatal. He was the first person diagnosed with Ebola virus disease in the U.S. He died at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas on Oct. 8.
At the half-hour ceremony, Duncan’s nephew, Josephus Weeks, thanked Texas Health for fulfilling its promise to set up the scholarship fund..
“Thank you for everything you did for Eric,” Weeks said. “I believe for sure that you did the best you can.”
Duncan’s parents and children reached an undisclosed cash settlement in November with Texas Health Resources after alleging that Duncan had received inadequate medical care
As part of the scholarship announcement, David and Nancy Writebol also shared their experience of service in Liberia. She also was infected with Ebola while working with Ebola victims in Liberia and was returned to the U.S. for successful treatment.
David Writebol, who heads the SIMS mission in Liberia, noted that the country is five days from meeting the official definition of Ebola being eradicated there. “May 9th will be the 42nd day of Liberia being Ebola-free,” he said.
Canose thanked the extended Duncan family, including his parents, who attended the event.
“We would like to express our deepest and most heart-felt appreciation to the Duncan family and SIM,” he said. THR “is humbled to make this legacy today to Mr. Duncan’s memory.”
A statement released by THR said the scholarship represents “the commitment made when Texas Health and representatives of the Duncan family amicably resolved issues related to Mr. Duncan’s treatment at Texas Health Dallas for Ebola Virus Disease last year.”
SIM USA is an international mission organization with more than 4,000 active missionaries serving in more than 65 countries.