Chinsin Sim of Stockton has won a $5,000 scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to continue pursuing his career in health care. Sim, a 2011 graduate of Middle College High School, will be starting his second year studying psychology with an emphasis on biology at the University of California, Davis. He intends to continue on to medical school to become a pediatrician. He is one of 15 Californians and 200 students nationwide to receive the scholarships this year. “If it wasn’t for this generous scholarship, I might have not considered attending UC Davis because of the cost,” Sim said. “However, this award was able to help subsidize my tuition cost allowing me to pursue my dreams of obtaining a college education.” United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, through its partner organizations, is awarding more than $1.2 million in scholarships this year to students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds. This is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to build a more diverse health care workforce. From 2007 through this year, United Health Foundation will have awarded nearly 1,000 scholarships, totaling more than $5 million, to students throughout the country. Nearly 170 scholarships have been awarded in California since 2007. “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 help support these outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.” During this year’s Diverse Scholars Forum, which took place June 26-28 in Washington, D.C., Sim heard from a range of speakers, including U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin, Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration Secretary Mary Wakefield and UnitedHealth Group Executive Vice President Tony Welters. In addition, the students attended a congressional reception where they were able to interact with members of Congress and their staffers and leaders from a variety of health care fields.
In conjunction with the Diverse Scholars Forum, United Health Foundation released new research that revealed minority students pursuing health careers are far more motivated by a desire to serve their community than by potential financial rewards. When asked what is the single most important motivation, 46 percent of minority scholars cited having a positive impact on people’s lives as their top reason for pursuing a health career. Only 17 percent cited salary or income. Money is not a primary motivation for these students; however it is a primary source of stress and discouragement. Of those polled, 98 percent said financial hurdles are a significant barrier to achieving their education and career goals. The research, conducted by APCO Insight and funded by United Health Foundation, polled about 500 minority students pursuing health careers. More than 60 percent of respondents said there are not enough minority health professionals. One in four said they had never been treated by a health professional of the same or similar racial or ethnic background as themselves. Nearly 90 percent said they are interested in working to serve a community with the same or similar racial or ethnic background as themselves. For more information about the research and the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html