COLORADO SPRINGS — The Covid-19 pandemic is shining a spotlight on diversity, equity and inclusion, and the need to address these issues in healthcare. Now, one of the state's largest non-profit health care providers, is stepping in to help under-represented students, get into the healthcare field.
Kaiser is giving $1 Million to the Foundation Colorado Community Colleges, creating the Kaiser Permanente Colorado Equity Scholarship Fund. This 15-year endowed scholarship fund will provide financial assistance to Colorado community college students who are African American, Black, Asian American, Pacific Islander, Latino, Hispanic, Native American, LGBTQI, a person with a disability, or a U.S. veteran for the advancement of their education in the health care industry.
These scholarships will be awarded to students in the Colorado Community College System, including Pikes Peak Community college.
"The community colleges in Colorado serve half of all students of color who attend college in Colorado," said Joe Garcia, Chancellor of the Colorado Community College System. "Our communities of color are less well served by healthcare organizations and health care professionals. "
Studies show increasing diversity in the field enhances patient and provider communication, increases patient trust, and eliminates bias in care delivery. It also has the potential to reduce longstanding health disparities experienced by vulnerable populations.
"There's just going to be so much more opportunity for direct connection with those healthcare providers and their patients," said Ellen Weaver, Director of Community Health and Engagement for Kaiser. "We know that having a more cultural responsive and cultural appropriate workforce better serves the community that is diverse itself," Weaver explained.
Applications for the Kaiser Permanente Equity Scholarships in Colorado, will open in 2022, with at least 28 scholarships set to be awarded each year.
Students enrolled in a health sciences degree program at schools in the Colorado Community College system are eligible to apply.
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