Health Care is the fastest growing sector of the U.S. economy right now. And more than 200 bright, young future health care professionals have been given a big boost to help them thrive in that field in a few years.
Last week, the United Health Foundation, a not-for-profit dedicated to expanding access to quality health care services, held a forum in Washington. Besides providing an opportunity for students majoring in health care disciplines to meet and interact with law and policy makers, the gathering also presented a chance for the students to get some cash to keep them in school.
At the event, more than 200 students – African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American and Latino – were awarded scholarships to pursue careers in health care. The individual awards averaged around $5,000 per student and will be applied to their Fall 2010 semester tuitions.
“These outstanding scholars will be an integral part of the future of our nation’s health care system and a health care work force that reflects the rich diversity of our country. Helping to support and develop these diverse, future health care leaders is one way that United Health Foundation works to improve our communities’, and our nation’s, health and well-being,” said Jeannine Rivet, UnitedHealth Group executive vice president and interim president of United Health Foundation.
According to UHF, The Diverse Scholars Initiative is administered through partnerships with a variety of nonprofit and civic organizations. While United Health Foundation does not select the recipients, scholarship recipients must demonstrate financial need, the pursuit of a degree that will lead to a career in a health field, and a commitment to working in underserved communities, including community health centers.
Meet four of the scholarship recipients below:
Students from Georgia pose with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R. – Ga.). They are (from left to right) Jasmine Edge, Kianna Lawrence, Sen. Chambliss, Darrell Byrd and Sean Walsh. Here’s a little more about them:
Kianna Lawrence is an undergraduate at Voorhees College pursuing degrees in biology and nursing. “After my traumatic experience with juvenile diabetes, I want to help educate the community with health issues. I am determined to make a better life for myself and pursue a career that I was meant to do,” she said.
Sean Walsh is an honors student studying biology and English at Valdosta State University and plans a career in medicine. “In my pursuit of becoming a physician, I plan to aid underprivileged communities seeking effective medical attention,” says Walsh.
Darrell Byrd is an undergraduate student at Brandeis University and is pursuing studies in the areas of psychology and health. Byrd said, “No matter whether you’re examining eyes, pulling teeth or performing open-heart surgery, you’re making a difference in someone’s life. I just hope to do my respective job to the best of my ability and make the word a better place than before I entered it.”
Jasmine Edge has finished her second year as an undergraduate student at Spelman College in Atlanta, where she is studying for a degree in chemistry. “My education will grant me access to many health career opportunities that will ultimately stimulate change in the world,” she says.
For more information on the initiative or to find out how to apply for a scholarship, visit the United Health Foundation’s Web site.