United Health Foundation announced it is awarding nearly $2 million to 175 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds.
The scholarships are part of United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, aimed at increasing diversity in the health care workforce by supporting promising future health professionals.
United Health Foundation made the announcement at its fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60 scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.
“United Health Foundation has helped me pursue my dream of becoming a Neurologist. Next year, I will be one of the first in my family to receive an undergraduate degree from a four-year university,” said Jessica Mack, a Biology major at Howard University. “I am truly honored that I was selected, and I’m grateful to United Health Foundation for its financial support and for the opportunity to meet my future colleagues and outstanding leaders in health care and health policy.”According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American. Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.