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Dina Horwedel, Director of Public Education, American Indian College Fund
303-426-8900, dhorwedel@collegefund.org

Colleen R. Billiot, Public Education Coordinator, American Indian College Fund
720-214-2569, cbilliot@collegefund.org

May 11, 2023 | College Fund, Press Releases

American Indian College Fund and United Health Foundation Announce $1.6 Million Program to Increase Healthcare Diversity

Diversity in Health Care Scholarship Program to reduce ongoing health disparities in Native communities and diversify workforce.

Denver, Colorado, May 11, 2023 — The American Indian College Fund is launching its Diversity in Health Care Scholarship Program with a $1.6 million grant from the United Health Foundation to reduce health disparities and outcomes in Native communities and to address underrepresentation of Native health care professionals in the workforce by providing academic and career services to American Indian and Alaska Native (AIAN) college students pursuing degrees in health care fields.

The Diversity in Health Care Scholarship Program is expected to support a cohort of 60 Native scholars per year, providing them each with a $5,000 scholarship that can be renewed annually for up to four years for students maintaining program eligibility.

Eligible scholars must be pursuing careers in primary healthcare professions and intend to work in their tribal communities. College Fund data show that programs such as the United Health Foundation Diversity in Health Care Scholars Program offering substantial, renewable scholarships with student support services help support higher student retention and graduation rates. In addition to scholarship funding, scholars will receive support for college preparedness and success, career exploration and development, and healthcare industry-specific opportunities. College Fund staff will maintain direct contact with scholars throughout the academic year by hosting cohort meetings, campus visits, and publishing monthly newsletters. The College Fund will also facilitate connections between scholars and industry professionals through interactive, virtual opportunities and will offer students the chance to apply for funding for trainings, materials, conferences, and other activities related to their specific majors.

Cheryl Crazy Bull, American Indian College Fund President and CEO, said, “The vitality and well-being of Tribal and rural individuals and families is greatly strengthened by the investment of United Health Foundation through this scholarship program and the related support the College Fund provides our scholars. When scholars can access culturally relevant health education this provides highly qualified community members working in our health services. We are deeply appreciative of the commitment of the United Health Foundation.”

“Building a more diverse health workforce is foundational to providing culturally competent care,” said Tracy Malone, President of the United Health Foundation. “We are grateful for the partnership with the American Indian College Fund that will help connect our dedicated resources and support with outstanding student candidates. Alongside all of our partners, we are committed to achieving a more diverse health workforce ready to deliver high-quality care to all communities to advance health equity.

About the United Health Foundation—Through collaboration with community partners, grants and outreach efforts, the United Health Foundation works to improve our health system, build a diverse and dynamic health workforce and enhance the well-being of local communities. The United Health Foundation was established by UnitedHealth Group in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation dedicated to improving health and health care. The United Health Foundation has committed more than $700 million to programs and communities around the world. To learn more, visit UnitedHealthFoundation.org.

About the American Indian College Fund—The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 33 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $14.45 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2021-22. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $284 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.

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