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Scholarships Focus on Closing the Diversity Gaps in Healthcare

businesswoman-in-suit-pm-thumb-270x270The American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women and Macy’s are once again set to award 16 scholarships of $2,500 each to help increase the number of diverse healthcare professionals, in an effort to help improve culturally-sensitive, patient-centered care.

The Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarships are part of Macy’s Multicultural Fund, which was created in 2009 to increase diversity in the medical field. Macy’s is the founding national sponsor of the association’s Go Red For Women® and Go Red Por Tu Corazón.

“Macy’s long-standing commitment to diversity extends to helping improve the lives and health of the people in the communities that we serve,” said William Hawthorne, Macy’s, Inc. senior-vice president Diversity Strategies. “The recruitment and empowerment of diverse women in the healthcare field is an important endeavor that Macy’s is proud to support through the Go Red Multicultural Scholarship Fund. This investment in their future will make a tangible and immediate impact when these diverse professionals begin their healthcare careers.”

The scholarship program promotes greater inclusion of multicultural women in medical, nursing and allied health studies to better meet thecultural needs of racially diverse patients.

“Health care industry jobs are generally recession-proof, are available in virtually all community settings, and are personally and professionally satisfying,” said Eduardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention, American Heart Association. “Minorities are underrepresented in many areas of the healthcare sector – as physicians, nurses, administrators and researchers, to list a few – and there is a growing belief that increasing diversity in the health care work force may help reduce health disparities among minority communities.”

The number of minority medical school graduates is increasing steadily, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. Among 18,078 medical school graduates in 2014, 1,052 were African-American, 928 Hispanic or Latino and 3,701 Asian.

However, the numbers are low compared with the population at large. For example, according to the 2010 Bureau of Labor Statistics and US Census Bureau:

• Only 5.4 percent of African-American and 3.6 percent of Hispanic nurses in the nation are registered nurses
• In contrast, African-Americans are 13 percent of the nation’s population, and Hispanics or Latinos make up 17 percent
• Minorities represent nearly 37 percent of the U.S. population in total

Meanwhile, census demographics indicate that minority population growth is expected to increase in relation to Caucasiansin the coming years.

“Minorities should pursue education in the STEM field and careers in health care. The chance to make a difference is very real and reachable,” said Sanchez.

Numerous ethnic groups — including African-Americans and Hispanics — are at higher risk for heart disease. Therefore, breaking the cultural and language barriers among patients and healthcare providers can lead to better health care.

“Throughout my 20-year career in healthcare, I’ve learned that having a cultural connection between patients and healthcare providers impacts the provider-patient dynamic,” said Eva Gomez, MSN RN-BC CPN and scholarship judge. “The way in which healthcare providers, who look and sound like their patients, connect with them makes a positive impact on how patients and families respond, consult and accept healthcare guidance and care.”

Following are the 2015 scholarship recipients, their chosen field of study and college:

Kennethea Wilson: Public Health, Mercyhurst Universtiy
Nakia Best: Nursing-Advanced Degree, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Marie Erobu: Nutrition and Dietetics, The University of Southern Mississippi
Brooke Hagerott: Sports Medicine, Western High School
Portia Johnson: Healthcare administration, Pfeiffer University
Lauren Galvan: Mental Health and Healing, Brown University
Santanna Small: Nursing-Advanced Degree, The University of Alabama at Birmingham
Auriel August: General Medicine, Dartmouth Medical School
Olivia Morris: Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington
Melissa Fann: Public Health/Health Law, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health
Mayra Martinez: Nursing, San Jose State University
Andrea Santos: Nursing-Advanced Degree, University of California, San Francisco
Clarissa Lavaki: Nursing, Abilene Christian University
Emily Mora: Medicine, Lehman College
Karen Torres: Nursing, Riverside City College School of Nursing
Jasmine Perkins: Nursing, Lonestar College Tomball

About the Author

New York Trend is a weekly news publication that focuses on issues and lifestyles of the African & Caribbean American communities throughout the New York metropolitan area and Nassau and Suffolk Counties of Long Island. It is a respected and well recognized news publication that has been in existence since 1989. Owner, Publisher and Executive Director, Dr. Teresa Taylor Williams has been at the helm of this award-winning publication since its inception. New York Trend continues to be the only black woman-owned, metropolitan newspaper in New York and Long island. New York Trend is the largest black-owned newspaper throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties.

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