United Health Foundation Awards Nearly $2 Million in Scholarships to 175
Diverse Students Pursuing Health Careers
*Number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low
when compared with the overall population
*Boosting diversity among health care workers improves treatment and
alleviates workforce shortages
*Scholarship winners announced at fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum in
*Through 2013, United Health Foundation will have committed more than $10
million supporting diverse students pursing health careers
WASHINGTON -- July 24, 2013
United Health Foundation announced it is awarding nearly $2 million to 175
students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds.
The scholarships are part of United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars
Initiative, aimed at increasing diversity in the health care workforce by
supporting promising future health professionals.
United Health Foundation made the announcement at its 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
“United Health Foundation has helped me pursue my dream of becoming a
Neurologist. Next year, I will be one of the first in my family to receive an
undergraduate degree from a four-year university,” said Jessica Mack, a
Biology major at Howard University. “I am truly honored that I was selected,
and I’m grateful to United Health Foundation for its financial support and for
the opportunity to meet my future colleagues and outstanding leaders in health
care and health policy.”
According to the American Medical AssociationandAssociation of American
Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is
disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example,
while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5
percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino.
About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of
physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.
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^1. 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.
By the end of 2013, United Health Foundation will have committed more than $10
million in support of diverse students pursing health careers.
“We know patients do best when they are treated by people who understand their
language and culture,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation.
“United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support these
outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and
who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.”
United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative is one facet of the
foundation’s commitment to build and strengthen the health workforce. United
Health Foundation supports additional programs like STEMPREP, which aims to
produce the next generation of researchers in the science, technology,
engineering, mathematics and medical fields. The foundation also supports A.T.
Still University’s Connect the Docs Graduate Loanship Program that provides
loan repayments to four qualifying graduates who secure jobs in community
For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative,
About 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
$210 million to improve health and health care. For more information,
^1 The Rationale for Diversity in the Health Professions: A Review of the
Evidence; U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services, Health Resources & Services
Administration, Bureau of Health Professions; October 2006
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United Health Foundation
Lauren Mihajlov, 952-936-3068
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