Home > News > Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship Fund to Award Scholarships to 2 Portuguese-Americans Studying Medicine

Tracey DaFonte

Bryan Rego

The Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship Fund will award two $2,000 scholarships to Portuguese-American medical resident Tracey DaFonte and medical student Bryan Rego, according to Dr. Helena Santos-Martins, Chair of the Dr. Leitão Memorial Fund Committee.  The scholarships will be presented at an Awards Luncheon on January 28, at 1 PM at the Sunset Café Restaurant, 851 Cambridge Street, Cambridge, MA.

The community is invited to attend the Dr. Leitão Scholarship Awards Luncheon, which will also serve as a fundraiser for the Scholarship Fund. The price per person is $50 (free for children under 12). For more information, please contact Dr. Santos-Martins, by emailing drleitaofund@gmail.com.  For reservations, please contact Lucinda Morais, MAPS Administrative Manager, at 617-864-7600, or lmorais@maps-inc.org.

According to Dr. Santos-Martins, “These scholarships provide much-needed support for our future Portuguese-American physicians. We strive to continue to grow our Scholarship Fund in order to increase the number and amount of the scholarships, as well as to encourage and nurture Portuguese-American students to pursue a career in Medicine and deliver culturally and linguistically sensitive care to our Portuguese-speaking communities.”

A daughter of immigrants from northern Portugal, DaFonte is a 1st-year pediatric resident at the University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Pediatrics Residency Program in Worcester, MA.

“My desire is to help Portuguese-speaking patients express their medical needs and worries and to offer them patient care that is respectful of their culture and values,” she told the Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship Fund Committee. Tracey grew up in Norwood, Massachusetts and graduated from the Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont in 2017. She had previously worked in research at Tufts Medical School and volunteered at their free clinics in Malden, providing services in Portuguese.

Rego, of Fall River and of Azorean background, is a 2nd-year medical student at the Alpert Medical School of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. He has travelled to Lisbon this past summer to study how Portugal has reversed its addictions epidemic and he is working on the opioid epidemic in his local area. In addition to working on publishing a scholarly paper on this subject and writing for the Fall River Herald News on this topic, Bryan has also started a Portuguese elective at his medical school.

“The sense of community instilled in me by my heritage is one that I believe will empower me to impart real change in immigrant communities,” Rego told the committee.

The Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship Fund, fiscally managed by the Massachusetts Alliance of Portuguese Speakers (MAPS), was created in 2015 in the name of the well-respected and beloved physician, who passed away that year. It aims to fill the urgent need for more Portuguese-American medical professionals in the Portuguese-speaking communities of New England. To donate to the Scholarship Fund, please visit http://www.maps-inc.org/dr-edward-leitao-memorial-fund/.