In November 2018, Dr. Tamara O’Neal—an emergency room physician at Mercy Hospital in Chicago—was shot and killed by her ex-fiancé. Her former classmates are turning the tragedy into something positive. In an effort to keep O’Neal’s legacy alive, they have launched a scholarship in her honor, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.
The scholarship—dubbed the Tamara O’Neal MD Scholarship Fund—is designed for students who are a part of the University of Illinois’ Urban Health Program. The money raised for the fund will go towards supporting a student’s first year in medical school. They also hope to be able to fund the education of a fourth-year medical student who plans on completing their residency in emergency medicine. O’Neal graduated from the institution five years ago and became an emergency medicine resident graduate in 2017. Their mission is to give back to those who are following in O’Neal’s footsteps and are determined to make their mark in the medical field. So far there has been $68,000 raised for the scholarship fund.
“Tamara was always a person who lived to help people, and to be able to pass that on in the form of this scholarship fund to help someone else, then Tamara still lives,” O’Neal’s father Tom O’Neal told the news outlet. “She used to call me up and tell me to say an extra prayer for her when she had a big exam … now I’ll say an extra prayer for the person who gets this scholarship.”
This isn’t the first scholarship fund that has been created in memory of O’Neal. Shortly after her tragic death, her close friends launched a fund to support the next generation of Black doctors.