New Research: For Minority Students Aiming for Health Careers, Giving Back is the Prime Motivation

Minority students pursuing health careers are far more motivated by a

desire to serve their community than by potential financial rewards,

according to new research released today by United Health Foundation.

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.

To address this shortfall, United Health Foundation is awarding more

than $1.2 million in scholarships to more than 200 students from

diverse, multicultural backgrounds. 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.

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.

The research is being released in conjunction with United Health

Foundation’s fourth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings 76

scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., this week to recognize and

celebrate their accomplishments and inspire them to work toward

strengthening the nation’s health care system.

“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.”

The Diverse Scholars Initiative is administered through partnerships

with a variety of nonprofit and civic organizations; United Health

Foundation does not select the recipients. Scholarship recipients must

demonstrate financial need, the pursuit of a degree that will lead to a

career in a health field and a commitment to working in underserved

communities, including community health centers. Additional requirements

and application deadlines vary by organization.

For more information about the research and the Diverse Scholars

Initiative visit

About United Health Foundation
Guided by a passion to help

people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful

information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and

healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that

expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging

circumstances and partners with others to improve the well-being of

communities. After its establishment by UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH)

in 1999 as a not-for-profit, private foundation, the Foundation has

committed more than $193 million to improve health and health care. For

additional information, please visit