· Scholarships to boost diversity among health care workers, helping improve treatment and alleviate workforce shortages · Announcement made at fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum in Washington, D.C. · Scholarships given as part of larger United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative totaling nearly $2 MillionWASHINGTON, July 25, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Indian College Fund announced that the United Health Foundation's Diverse Scholars Initiative has awarded $100,000 for scholarships to 18 academically deserving Native students pursuing health or health-related degrees. The scholarships were announced at the 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. Five scholarships will be awarded to New Mexico tribal college students attending Navajo Technical College; five scholarships will be awarded to Arizona tribal college students attending Dine College or Tohono O'odham Community College; four scholarships will be awarded to students attending Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, or the University of Arizona; and four scholarships will be awarded to students attending San Juan College-Farmington, University of New Mexico-Albuquerque, or Western New Mexico University. 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.