DALE BRUNKEN FOUNDER, MGIS
Dale Brunken founded MGIS 50 years ago to support the unique income protection needs of healthcare professionals. By offering an annual $15,000 student loan repayment grant to a deserving healthcare professional, we honor his vision.
Student loan debt creates a significant drag on income for healthcare professionals and often increases their need for disability insurance. We are grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in reducing this growing student loan burden among healthcare professionals.
Once you submit your nomination, you will be contacted by your MGIS RVP to discuss the award selection process in more detail.
All nominations received are carefully reviewed by our internal committee and the award winner will be selected by MGIS president Jeff Brunken.
Nominating brokers will be informed a week in advance if their nominee is the recipient of the award.
Last year’s winner Greg Esparza is a dedicated father and grandfather in the last year of his five-year residency training program. He followed what he describes as a “challenging, heartbreaking, life-affirming and non-traditional path” to becoming a physician.
During his Ph.D. studies in immunology, he was drawn to the clinical side and applied to medical school. However, to fulfill his role as a student and a single father, he extended medical school one year. He worked as a research assistant while attending medical school for additional income to support himself and his son.
“It was a complete surprise to learn that I had been nominated for this award and that I had won,” Dr. Esparza remarks. “The award payment helps lessen the burden of revolving student loan payments and opens up more financial possibilities for my wife and me today. It definitely reduces the staggering amount of debt incurred in pursuing a medical education. It makes all the milestones after graduating residency come faster – like being able to buy our first home,” he adds.
Amy Shepherd, a nurse from Missouri, stood out among the many excellent
nominees we received from our broker community in 2020. Amy was
nominated by broker and high school friend, Brandi Martin.
According to Brandi:
“Amy’s husband, Lou, was a college athlete but one day fell ill and
never fully recovered. The remainder of Lou’s life was spent going to
dialysis and later battling cancer. He passed away July 20, 2018. I am
nominating Amy because she not only took care of her husband, she raised
three kids and went back to school to pursue a nursing career…all at
the same time. Her fear was that Lou’s kidney condition was hereditary
and she was determined to provide her family with the best care
possible. Not once did I hear Amy complain about being tired or broke
(or complain about anything, for that matter) she just continued to work
toward her goal of becoming a nurse.”
We called Amy to ask her how she reacted when she learned she had won
“Brandi told me someone wanted to have a conversation with me, and I
didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know I was nominated. When I
found out that I had won the award, I was speechless!”
The grant was enough to wipe out all of Amy’s student loan obligations.
When asked what she’ll be able to do without her burdensome student loan
debt, she notes, “I plan to take my youngest son on some trips he wasn’t
able to experience after his father passed away.”
The inaugural winner of the award, Destiny Wholf is a nurse practitioner
at the University of Toledo Medical Center and Promedica Toledo
Hospital. Winning the award had a major impact on Destiny’s career and
personal life. After winning award last year, she said:
“Receiving the Dale Brunken Award from the MGIS team gives me the
opportunity to focus on my career and family. I have recently made the
decision to solely focus on working at UTMC with children in the
inpatient psychiatric unit instead of the multiple units to help pay my
student loans. This also allows me to feel more comfortable with going
back to school to further my knowledge in child psychology without the
burden of such a large loan weighing me down.”
Award Winner Announced