The United Health Foundation has donated $430,000 to the American Indian College Fund’s United Health Foundation Tribal Scholars Program, creating 13 scholarships for American Indian and Alaska Natives studying in the health and dental fields.

The $430,000 grant is an increase over last year’s $360,000 for the College Fund. It showcases UnitedHealth Group’s commitment to building a diverse health workforce that reflects today’s society and delivers more personalized, culturally competent care — especially during the coronavirus crisis.

“The American Indian College Fund is a longstanding partner we are honored to support. Together, we are working to improve the capacity of the health care system to ensure Native communities receive the best quality care,” said Tracy Malone, president of the United Health Foundation. “Through this ongoing partnership, we are living our mission of building healthier communities by developing a modern health workforce that is culturally competent and can provide the right care at the right time.”

The goal of the Tribal Scholars Program is to develop the next generation of Native health care providers to serve their communities with personalized, culturally competent care. In all, the two United Health Foundation grants will fund 24 scholarships.

Rising sophomores who are studying to be a primary care physician, nurse, physician’s assistant, mental and behavioral health worker, dentist or pharmacist are eligible for the scholarships. The scholarships are renewable for up to three years if students maintain their studies and a 3.0 grade point average.

“The College Fund appreciates that, during this pandemic, the United Health Foundation is continuing its commitment to our scholars,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, president and CEO of the American Indian College Fund. “Tribal people use our traditional ways of knowing and good relationships to support public health and the guidelines that will get us through this crisis. Together we are paving a healthy path for individuals and their families.”

Founded in 1989, the American Indian College Fund provided $7.72 million in scholarships to 3,900 American Indian students in 2018-19, with nearly 137,000 scholarships and community support totaling over $208 million since its inception.