The Fund and United Health Foundation to award scholarships for health careers

Jul 30th, 2013 | By | Category: Online TC News, Tribal College News, Web Exclusive
By Dina Horwedel

The American Indian College Fund (the 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 students in New Mexico attending Navajo Technical College; 5 scholarships will be awarded to students in Arizona attending Diné College or Tohono O’odham Community College; 4 scholarships will be awarded to students attending Northern Arizona University, Arizona State University, Grand Canyon University, or the University of Arizona; and 4 scholarships will be awarded to students attending San Juan College, the University of New Mexico, 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. 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. Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture, and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and adopt the medical treatment they receive. Increasing the diversity of health care providers will reduce the shortage of medical professionals in underserved areas, reduce inequities in academic medicine, and address variables, such as language barriers, that make it difficult for patients to navigate the health care system.

The United Health Foundation’s initiative aims to increase diversity in the health care workforce by supporting promising future health professionals. “The American Indian College Fund is thrilled to continue its partnership with the United Health Foundation. Inequity in health care combined with the highest rates of diabetes, cancer, and other serious diseases have created a vital need for Native health care professionals across Indian Country. These scholarships will help train the next generation of Native healers,” said Dr. Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the Fund.

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