Celebrating 10 Years of Diverse Scholars Initiative

July 31, 2017

Participants in the 2017 Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings together scholarship recipients from across the nation to meet with policymakers and thought leaders to discuss the nation's most pressing health issues, network with peers and special guests, and share their own ideas and experiences.

At UnitedHealth Group, we believe that by supporting today's brightest scholars, we're investing in a health workforce that will meet the needs of tomorrow. Research tells us that when patients receive care from providers who share their language and culture, they're more likely to seek and accept medical treatment. Through our Diverse Scholars Initiative, we're working to cultivate health professionals from diverse, multicultural backgrounds to increase culturally competent health care delivery, close the health disparities gap and improve long-term health outcomes.

Now in its 10th year, the Diverse Scholars Initiative has provided more than $16 million in assistance and funded more than 2,540 scholarships in 36 states for students who are pursuing careers as health care professionals. Scholarship recipients have furthered their careers by pursuing masters and doctorate programs, and pursued career opportunities, including physicians, nurses, pharmacists, dentists and mental health providers.

Four organizations have partnered with United Health Foundation since the initiative's inception: National Medical Fellowships, United Negro College Fund, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and National Hispanic Health Foundation. Together, these organizations have watched 345 Diverse Scholars pursue their academic and career goals in the medical field. For example:

  • Ray Hill, a scholar from Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, pursued his passion for music at Morehouse College, where he explored the connection between music and psychology.
  • Kenji Taylor, in partnership with National Medical Fellows, applied his multicultural learning and experience to his residency in family medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco General Hospital.
  • United Negro College Fund scholarship recipient Evelyn Ambush pursued a pharmacy degree at Xavier University College of Pharmacy in New Orleans, a dream she's had since she was a young girl. She plans to continue her studies in postgraduate pharmacy residency programs to become an ambulatory pharmacist, which would allow her to work closely with patients as part of a clinical team.
  • Recent National Hispanic Health Foundation scholarship recipients Dr. John Paul Sánchez and Dr. Noé Romo have found ways to apply their cultural and education backgrounds to programs that support their communities, whether it's addressing community violence or leading efforts to bring greater diversity to the world of academic medicine.

Together with partners like National Medical Fellowships, United Negro College Fund, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation and National Hispanic Health Foundation, we are helping transform the health care system by delivering culturally competent care to underserved communities and spurring innovation that can lead to better health outcomes for all. We look forward to the next 10 years of continued collaboration and partnership.