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 peoples 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
The research is being released in conjunction with United Health
Foundations 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 nations 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 www.unitedhealthfoundation.org/dsi.html.
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 www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.