Mountain States Foundation awards first Don Brewer Scholarships


Three students in the health care field who are connected to Mountain States Health Alliance (MSHA) were recently announced as winners of the newly established Don Brewer Scholarship Fund.

The three students were awarded $2,000 each by the Mountain States Foundation, which established this annual scholarship that is funded by Knoxville-based Realty Trust Group.

The scholarship winners are:

  • Laura Beth Parsons, a fourth-year pharmacy student at the Bill Gatton College of Pharmacy at East Tennessee State University
  • Cody Swindall, a third-year pharmacy student at Gatton College of Pharmacy
  • Rebekah Rollston, a student at the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU who is also pursuing her master’s degree in Public Health at ETSU.

Brewer was a native of Upper East Tennessee who was instrumental during the early days of MSHA in helping the system consolidate and manage multiple physician office buildings. He passed away on Feb. 13, 2012, and his business associates and friends chose to honor his memory by helping students affiliated with the organization he once served.

Realty Trust has consistently been ranked by Modern Healthcare magazine as one of the nation’s Top 25 health care development companies.

“It was our pleasure to provide these three scholarships for young people working through school,” said Greg Gheen, president of Realty Trust Group. “We did this because we believe in the mission Mountain States has of providing great health care and we wanted to provide some resources for people who want to deliver health care.

“And this is a special way to honor Don. He was a very important member of our company. Our motto is ‘Helping create places for healing.’ We try to provide support not just for buildings but also for people.”

Parsons, from Gallatin, is doing her rotation at Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City and is on course to graduate in May. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Tennessee.

“I’d like to specialize in oncology,” she said. “I love to treat the sick.”

Swindall, who expects to graduate in 2014, is a graduate of Lincoln Memorial University and is from Clintwood, Va. His mother, Jean Swindall, is employed by MSHA as site supervisor at Community Physicians Wise.

Rebekah Rollston, from Johnson City, is in the MD program at Quillen College of Medicine and is pursuing a master of Public Health degree at ETSU. She is a graduate of Milligan College. Rebekah said she wants to provide primary care to the underserved. Her mother, Carolyn Rollston, works for MSMG as a patient service representative.

The scholarship fund is set up for three years, with each student receiving $2,000, so it is for $18,000 total. Three more winners will be announced next year. The criteria include:

 • Must be a resident of the 29-county area MSHA serves in Upper East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, Western North Carolina and Southeastern Kentucky and be an MSHA team member or dependent of an active team member.

 • Must have a field of study related to health care and be enrolled in medical school, PT/OT school or pharmacy school.

 • Must submit a 500-word essay outlining reasons for going into health care.

For more information on the Mountain States Foundation, visit

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