MGIS Honors Gregory Esparza, MD, as 2021 Dale Brunken Annual Student Loan Repayment Award Winner
SALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 15, 2021 — MGIS, a leading national disability insurance provider for healthcare professionals, today announced Gregory Esparza, MD, an emergency medicine resident at ChristianaCare Health System in Newark, Delaware, as the winner of its Dale Brunken Annual Student Loan Repayment Award.
Peer-selected as chief resident, Dr. Esparza is a dedicated father and grandfather in the last year of his five-year residency training program. He followed what he refers to as a “challenging, heartbreaking, life-affirming and non-traditional path” to becoming a physician. During Ph.D. studies in immunology, he was drawn to the clinical side and decided to apply 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.
Now in its third year, the Dale Brunken Annual Student Loan Repayment Award is named for the man who founded MGIS over 50 years ago to serve the disability insurance needs of healthcare professionals. Jeff Brunken, his son, took over as president 30 years ago and today leads MGIS as a national innovator within the $19 billion disability insurance industry. The award provides a $15,000 payment to the winner for student loan debt.
“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.
“It is so rewarding to know we established the Dale Brunken Annual Student Loan Repayment Award when you hear a story like Dr. Esparza’s,” says Jeff Brunken, president, MGIS. “It is a way I can honor my father’s legacy and give back to the healthcare professionals that work incredibly hard every day helping others. We are very excited to give this award to Dr. Esparza and provide funds to help repay his student loan debt.”
The Dale Brunken Annual Student Loan Repayment Award centers on providing relief to hard-working healthcare professionals who are in debt due to their professional education. According to the most recent data from the Association of American Medical Colleges, 73% of all medical school graduates hold student loan debt, and the average amount is $200,000. Many of these healthcare professionals carry debt for years or even decades while they work.