Tuition hikes at colleges and universities and dramatic cuts to graduate medical education funding across the nation are forcing many students to find new ways to pay for higher education. In an effort to ease the burden and increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine, the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women® and Macy’s, its national sponsor, offer the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Fund.
The fund — now in its third year — provides 16 $2,500 scholarships for multicultural women pursuing college or graduate school degrees in healthcare fields. Besides easing the financial burden for students, the American Heart Association and its supporters are striving to increase the number of underrepresented minorities in medicine and increase culturally-sensitive, patient care.
The number of minority medical school graduates is increasing steadily, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges. However, the figures are still low compared with the population at large. For example, among 17,364 medical school graduates in 2011, 6.5 percent were black, 7.6 percent were Hispanic and 21.6 percent were Asian.
Only 5.4 percent of African-American and 3.6 percent of Hispanic nurses in the nation are registered nurses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In contrast, minorities make up 36.6 percent of the U.S. population.
Numerous ethnic groups — including African-Americans and Hispanics — are disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease and risk factors. They also face barriers to diagnosis and care and experience worse health outcomes than Caucasians.
“Building a diverse physician and medical workforce is a critical component in the delivery of patient-centered care to the multicultural communities that will enter the healthcare system once the Affordable Care Act is implemented,” says Dr. Jennifer Mieres, senior vice president in the Office of Community and Public Health, chief diversity and inclusion officer for North Shore —LIJ HealthSystem and American Heart Association Go Red For Women spokesperson.
“The recruitment of talented, young diverse women into the healthcare field is a critical step in the delivery of quality, culturally-sensitive, patient-centered care.”
The Go Red Multicultural Scholarship is made possible by the Macy’s Multicultural Fund, which was created in 2009 to focus on increasing diversity in the medical field. Macy’s is a founding national sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women and Go Red Por Tu Corazón awareness campaigns, raising nearly $50 million since 2004.
The 2013 scholarship recipients are:
- Mary Witherspoon: nursing, Chicago State University
- Azsha Matthews: nursing, Columbia University
- Nicole Sample: NYU School of Medicine
- Whittney Work: nursing, Winston Salem State University
- Chiamaka Ike: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, School of Pharmacy
- Nefertiti Clavon: health promotions, University of Houston
- Raisa Garcia: clinical psychology, Alliant International University
- Myo-Sabai Aye: M.D./M.P.H., Eastern Virginia Medical School
- Jainty John: physician’s assistant, Le Moyne College
- Jee Hae Jones: nursing, Hawaii Pacific University
- Danielle Cipres: University of California-San Francisco’s School of Medicine
- Kristine Gallardo: post-graduate student, nursing program, Azusa Pacific University
- Sylvia Estrada: nursing program, Western University of Health Sciences
- Yuliana De los Santos: osteopathic medicine, New York College of Osteopathic Medicine
- Mariana Lucena: University of North Carolina Eshelman School of Pharmacy
- Nadia Elgoghail: family nurse practitioner, Columbia University
Visit the Go Red Multicultural Scholarship page for more information and to apply for the 2014 scholarships.