Diverse Scholars Initiative Validates Importance, Celebrates Journey

June 30, 2011

The United Health Foundation hosted its third annual Diverse Scholars Forum in Washington, D.C., last week with 49 scholars from across the country attending. The theme of this year’s event was “Innovations in Chronic Disease Care and Prevention.”

Those who attended expressed appreciation not only for the financial support, but also for the validation that pursuing degrees in health-related studies is important.

One of the scholarship recipients, LeTonna Bradford, expressed it best when describing what the scholarship and the Forum experience meant to her, “Not only has the scholarship provided me with financial assistance, it has also given me exposure to others in health care who are dedicated to making changes. It is very encouraging to see this. I enjoyed myself and feel fortunate to have had this experience.”

The Diverse Scholars Initiative provides academic scholarships to undergraduate and graduate minority students pursuing degrees in health-related fields. The United Health Foundation has given more than $4 million over the past five years to the Diverse Scholars Initiative, providing nearly 800 scholarships for multicultural students planning to pursue careers in health.

The Forum, held over three days, brought together the best and brightest young minds to learn the inherent challenges and opportunities of chronic disease prevention and care. The students met their Members of Congress and interacted with officials from Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and various policy and advocacy organizations.

Kate Rubin, president of the United Health Foundation, Jeannine Rivet, R.N., executive vice president, and Reed Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president, chief of Medical Affairs, were also on hand to celebrate the students’ accomplishments and encourage them to pursue their journey as leaders of the future health workforce. Rivet and Tuckson also serve as members of the United Health Foundation board.

The scholars were also given the opportunity to visit the National Institutes of Health, Georgetown University Hospital, and Unity Walker Jones Clinic, a D.C.- based community health center.

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