Andrew Henrichs and Stephen Wills

The National Western Stock Show (NWSS) is back in town celebrating its 106th year.

One of the biggest attractions during the Stock Show is the Coors Western Art Exhibit and sale, which is a significant contributor to the National Western Scholarship Trust.

Twenty-five percent of the proceeds from the art work sold during the Stock Show is earmarked as scholarships for college students in Colorado and Wyoming. These are students who are studying either medicine or agriculture. Ten CU School of Medicine students are among this year’s scholarship recipients. These students are enrolled in the Rural Track and plan to practice medicine in rural areas of Colorado after they graduate. The Rural Track is designed to encourage and support medical students interested in rural practice. It provides mentorship, knowledge, broad skills and rural socialization experiences beyond the standard medical school curriculum. The ultimate goal of the track is to increase the number of physicians who eventually enter and remain in practice in rural Colorado.

Scholarship recipients were invited to join the opening gala festivities on Jan. 4. Among them, Andrew Henrichs (see photo) who is a first-year physician’s assistant (PA) student. Henrichs lived in Carbondale, Colo., and after graduation he plans to return to the Western Slope to practice. Henrichs loves the outdoors, the landscape, the people and the quality of life in rural Colorado. As part of the NWSS Health Scholarship program he has committed to working for at least two years in rural Colorado.

Stephen Wills (see photo) grew up in Colorado Springs. He has studied abroad in Mongolia and also was a Peace Corps volunteer in Northern Malawi. Wills is a second-year medical student and a member of the Rural Track. This past summer he conducted community research in Alamosa, Colo., and worked with a family practice doctor in Del Norte, Colo. These experiences in small and underserved communities inspired him to work in a field of medicine where he is able to improve the health of communities, as well as individuals, and to improve access to quality health care. Wills said he plans to stay in Colorado to be close to family, friends and great outdoor recreation.

The art exhibit opening gala brought in more than $650,000 in art work sales.

(Photo: Andrew Henrichs (left) and Stephen Wills attended the gala opening.)

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