United Health Foundation Awards $1.2 Million in Scholarships to More Than 200 Multicultural Students Nationwide

June 21, 2011

United Health Foundation is awarding $1.2 million in scholarships for the upcoming academic year to more than 200 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds.

The scholarships, averaging $5,000 per student, are being offered through United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative and are awarded through its partner organizations to African-American, American-Indian, Asian-American, and Latino and Hispanic students planning to pursue careers in health care.

By encouraging health professionals from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, the Diverse Scholars Initiative is designed to increase culturally competent health care delivery, close the health disparities gap and improve health outcomes over the long term.

Since 2007, United Health Foundation has awarded nearly 800 scholarships benefiting students across the nation, committing more than $4 million to the initiative.

“Research shows that when patients are treated by health professionals who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and receive medical treatment. Through these scholarships we are encouraging diverse, multicultural students to continue their education and become health care professionals who will help expand and enhance health care services, particularly in underserved communities. These outstanding scholars truly represent the rich diversity of our country,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation.

United Health Foundation is hosting its third annual Diverse Scholars “Young Minds, Bright Futures” Forum in Washington, June 21-23, to recognize and celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event will provide an opportunity for the talented, young future health care professionals to meet and interact with members of Congress and experts and leaders from a variety of health care fields.

The forum will include an informational panel of health experts and a breakfast reception on Capitol Hill Wednesday the 22nd. The panel will discuss “Innovations in Chronic Disease Care and Prevention.” Panelists include Deneen Vojta, M.D., Senior Vice President, UnitedHealth Center for Health Reform & Modernization; Felipe Lobelo, M.D., Ph.D., Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); Amina Farhadi, Reproductive Justice Fellow (LSRJ), Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum; and Mona Shah, Associate Director, Federal Relations, American Cancer Society.

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. Additional requirements and application deadlines vary by organization.

Partner organizations are experienced in scholarship administration and have reputations for achieving excellence with these programs. They also have the ability to identify and engage with students who are most in need of financial support.

Diverse Scholars Initiative partner organizations include: American Indian College Fund; Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund; Auxiliary to the National Medical Association; California Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; Congressional Black Caucus Foundation; Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute; Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities; Hispanic College Fund; Hispanic Scholarship Fund; Hispanic Women’s Network of Texas; Jackie Robinson Foundation; National Black Nurses Association; National Association of Hispanic Nurses; National Hispanic Health Foundation; National Medical Fellowships, Inc.; South Florida Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Foundation, Inc.; Tavis Smiley Foundation; Thurgood Marshall College Fund; Tom Joyner Foundation; and United Negro College Fund.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.

United Health Foundation
Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of communities. Since established by UnitedHealth Group [NYSE: UNH] in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has committed more than $187 million to improve health and health care. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.

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