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UM School of Medicine Names Sofia Cascio as the First Director of Student Financial Wellness

November 16, 2021

Cascio will Lead a New Program to Help Students Navigate Financial Challenges

Sofia Cascio, MBADonna L. Parker, MD, Senior Associate Dean for Undergraduate Medical Education, along with Kerri Thom, MD, MS, Associate Dean for Student Affairs at the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM), announced today that Sofia Cascio, MBA, has been named the school’s first Director of Student Financial Wellness.

A seasoned financial planning professional, Cascio will build and manage the Medical School Scholarship & Financial Wellness Program. The program was established to act as a resource for medical students, and serve as a hub for financial aid and financial wellness services.

As Director, Cascio will oversee all aspects of student financial planning and debt counseling, establish short and long-term debt management plans, and develop training materials and seminars.

Donna Parker, MD, FACP“From student loans to housing costs, the financial pressures associated with a career in medicine are greater than ever before,” says Dr. Parker. “Under Cascio’s leadership, the UMSOM Scholarship & Financial Wellness Program will give students the knowledge and financial assistance they need to be successful through medical school and beyond.”

The program will adopt and implement the FIRST Program (Financial Information, Resources, Services, and Tools).  The FIRST program is a resource provided by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and all LCME-accredited medical schools are strongly encouraged to utilize aspects of this model.

“More than 70 percent of medical students will graduate with debt,” says Dr. Thom. “Though the UMSOM Scholarship & Financial Wellness Program, students will learn how to better manage their expenses, repay their student loans, pay for housing and plan for the future.”

Kerri Thom, MD, MSThe FIRST program provides strategies to help medical students manage financial aid and their daily finances, as well as make sound financial decisions that will help after medical school. FIRST resources include videos, fact sheets, and helpful articles.

“Student loan debt can be a significant source of stress for medical students, which can affect their mental health and academic performance,” says Dean Reece. “We must do everything we can to help students achieve financial literacy and give them the tools they need to achieve long-term financial wellness.”

Prior to coming to UMSOM, Cascio served as Associate Director of the Office of Financial Aid at the University of Baltimore. Cascio has also worked as a financial services supervisor and trainer at Walden University, and a financial aid customer service specialist at the Community College of Baltimore County.

Cascio earned an MBA from Walden University and a BS in Business Administration from the University of Baltimore.

About the University of Maryland School of Medicine

Now in its third century, the University of Maryland School of Medicine was chartered in 1807 as the first public medical school in the United States. It continues today as one of the fastest growing, top-tier biomedical research enterprises in the world -- with 46 academic departments, centers, institutes, and programs, and a faculty of more than 3,000 physicians, scientists, and allied health professionals, including members of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and a distinguished two-time winner of the Albert E. Lasker Award in Medical Research.  With an operating budget of more than $1.2 billion, the School of Medicine works closely in partnership with the University of Maryland Medical Center and Medical System to provide research-intensive, academic and clinically based care for nearly 2 million patients each year. The School of Medicine has nearly $600 million in extramural funding, with most of its academic departments highly ranked among all medical schools in the nation in research funding.  As one of the seven professional schools that make up the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus, the School of Medicine has a total population of nearly 9,000 faculty and staff, including 2,500 students, trainees, residents, and fellows. The combined School of Medicine and Medical System (“University of Maryland Medicine”) has an annual budget of over $6 billion and an economic impact of nearly $20 billion on the state and local community. The School of Medicine, which ranks as the 8th highest among public medical schools in research productivity (according to the Association of American Medical Colleges profile) is an innovator in translational medicine, with 606 active patents and 52 start-up companies.  In the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of the Best Medical Schools, published in 2021, the UM School of Medicine is ranked #9 among the 92 public medical schools in the U.S., and in the top 15 percent (#27) of all 192 public and private U.S. medical schools.  The School of Medicine works locally, nationally, and globally, with research and treatment facilities in 36 countries around the world. Visit medschool.umaryland.edu

 

Contact

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655 West Baltimore Street
Bressler Research Building 14-002
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-1559

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