“Doctors can heal the body, but it is music that uplifts the spirit.” – Mother Teresa
Samuel Faith and Brian Mayeda, both members of the class of 2013, are recipients of scholarship made possible by the Joseph Collins Foundation for medical students who are also making a contribution to the arts. They began playing together after meeting in medical school and now perform regularly with the VCU Medical Center’s Arts in Health Care Program and other occasional gigs around Richmond.
Medical students Samuel Faith and Brian Mayeda have put that principle into practice. As a result, they have been named recipients of the Joseph Collins Foundation Scholarship, an externally awarded scholarship for medical students who are also making a contribution to the arts.
Faith began playing the saxophone at the early age of seven, but says he didn’t begin to really appreciate the beauty of its music until he was 11 years old. Growing up in Spain, he had the chance to participate in one of the country’s professional conservatories of music where he worked with world-class musicians and dedicated students. He continued to pursue his love of music when he attended college in the U.S. and founded the Virginia Tech Saxophone Quartet.
Mayeda began playing the clarinet and the saxophone as early as fourth grade. After a few years he also picked up the guitar and played throughout his high school career. As a University of Utah undergraduate, he performed with a variety of bands and in 2002, took the opportunity to teach concert band and jazz band at his former high school for five years. Mayeda always knew, however, that he wanted to be a physician and that music was more of a pastime than a career for him.
Mayeda and Faith became friends during their first year of medical school but didn’t know the other enjoyed playing music until Mayeda noticed a saxophone at Faith’s apartment. Now they perform twice a month in the lobby of the Gateway Building for the Arts in Health Care Program. Each year, the pair also plays for the HOMBRE fundraiser that sends medical students on a mission to Honduras.
Both agree that their love of the arts has had a great influence in their study of medicine. Not only is music therapeutic, Faith explains that, “depending on what I do as a physician, having been a musician, I have good dexterity.”
Mayeda too has seen its benefits, when he’s shadowed physicians as part of his medical training; he has been amazed at how much they were all involved in music. “It helps in medical school as great brain exercise and mental stimulation.”
Mayeda and Faith are grateful to have received the Collins Foundation Scholarship. For Faith, traveling is very important and he appreciates that this scholarship eases the burden of student loans. Mayeda is relieved that a portion of his out-of-state student’s tuition is taken care of with the scholarship. He says, “It’s cool that the Joseph Collins Foundation recognizes the importance of being well-rounded and wants to award you for that.”
The Joseph Collins Foundation was set up in 1950 following the death of neurologist Joseph Collins, M.D. Collins wished for his residuary estate to be used, in his own words as found in his will, “To enable serious and cultured young men and women who are ambitious and determined, and who are without sufficient means, to study medicine.” Collins was considered a man of scholarly tastes and wide interests in literature. He produced, in addition to numerous articles regarding the medical profession, some 16 volumes of more general appeal. Among his best-known books was The Doctor Looks at Life and Literature. He also helped to found the Karaka Club in New York, which for many years brought doctors together to discuss music, art, literature and other subjects generally considered outside the field of medicine.
In order to receive the award, applicants must meet several factors considered by the Foundation’s Board. The candidate must be in actual financial need as well as be in the top half of his or her class. A demonstrated interest in the arts or other cultural pursuits outside the field of medicine is required as well as an indication that the applicant intends to consider specializing in neurology, psychiatry, or becoming a general practitioner.
This year, the medical school has six recipients of the Joseph Collins Foundation Scholarship. In addition to Faith and Mayeda, recipients include Angela Hou, Pooya Jahanshahi, Collier Pace and Michelle Tsai.