UC Health Makes Leadership Investment to Create Diversity Scholarships

CINCINNATI – April 2, 2018 – Thanks to the generosity and leadership of UC Health, more University of Cincinnati (UC) students from underrepresented backgrounds will be able to pursue careers in health care. UC Health has committed $1.5 million to create and support student scholarships for diverse populations in each of the four colleges within the UC Academic Health Center: College of Allied Health Sciences, College of Medicine, College of Nursing and James L. Winkle College of Pharmacy.

Scholarships were awarded for the first time this academic year for undergraduate and graduate students in health care disciplines. The UC Health gift includes both the creation of a UC Health Diversity Scholarship in each health college, as well as matching funds to encourage donors to establish new scholarships supporting diversity. 

To date, UC Health funds and matched gifts from college donors have supported 21 scholarships at the UC Academic Health Center. 

In creating the scholarships, UC Health aims to attract a more diverse student population in health care fields, and ultimately to create a local health care system that is more representative of the communities it serves.

“We know through recent research that underrepresented adults in Cincinnati believe their race negatively impacts their treatment from medical professionals,” said UC Health President and CEO Richard P. Lofgren, MD. “This investment is a step to improve health care for all of our patients and to foster a health care workforce that reflects the diversity of our population.” 

The scholarships aim to address a significant challenge the region faces: recruiting and retaining top diverse health care professionals. For instance, the average age of African-American physicians in Cincinnati is 64 years old, according to the Cincinnati Medical Association. Experts estimate that numerous departures, via retirement or relocation, will greatly diminish the availability of diverse care providers in the coming years.

This initiative links to the university’s new strategic direction, Next Lives Here, and its priorities around improving urban health and supporting inclusive excellence. 

“The benefits of UC Health’s commitment are two-fold,” said UC President Neville Pinto. “First, this contributes to our mission to provide all students with access to an affordable education. Second, as an urban-based university and the region’s only university with an academic health center, we are uniquely driven by community challenges. These scholarships will help deliver what patients deserve – health care providers reflective of our diversity.”

The scholarships benefit students from underrepresented communities or disadvantaged backgrounds, determined by socio-economic status, parental education, cultural background or history of overcoming adversity, among other criteria. 

For UC College of Medicine student Sarah Appeadu, the UC Health Diversity Scholarship allows her to focus on academics instead of accruing more loans and debt. Not only is she grateful for the help, she’s pleased to be included in UC Health’s commitment to diversity. “In medicine, a wide array of perspectives, skills, experiences, and beliefs in the health care workforce has a much larger reach to a diverse patient population than a narrow one,” she said. “Diversity is a necessary and hopeful remedy for a society that unfortunately created an atmosphere of mistrust in United States institutions for its minority populations. An invitation to trust again can start with the simple relationship between a provider and patient of the same racial, ethnic, or cultural background, for example.” 

Appeadu is the type of qualified student that UC and UC Health believe the scholarships will help attract in today’s competitive higher education market. 

“The four colleges within UC’s Academic Health Center recognize the pressing need for greater diversity among our health care professionals, and we face considerable competition for top diverse candidates,” said Tina Whalen, EdD, dean of the UC College of Allied Health Sciences. “These scholarships, generously initiated by UC Health’s leadership investment, represent a major step forward in our strategic recruitment efforts and will ultimately help us achieve a more diverse, inclusive and culturally competent health care workforce to better our community.”

“It is vitally important to increase support mechanisms that help bring to UC diverse students who will likely remain in Cincinnati at any of our local health systems after their education and residency to care for others in our community,” said William Ball, MD, senior vice president for health affairs and dean of the UC College of Medicine. “UC Health’s commitment to increasing the scholarship and financial support we can offer qualified students is essential to the long-term vibrancy of health care throughout our region and improving access to care for all residents.”



About UC Health
UC Health is the region’s only academic health system. Affiliated with the University of Cincinnati, UC Health combines clinical expertise and compassion with research and teaching – a combination that provides patients with options for even the most complex situations.  Members of UC Health include: University of Cincinnati Medical Center, West Chester Hospital, Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care, Bridgeway Pointe Assisted Living, University of Cincinnati Physicians (includes nearly 900 board-certified clinicians and surgeons), Lindner Center of HOPE and several specialized institutes including:  Gardner Neuroscience Institute; Cancer Institute; Heart, Lung & Vascular Institute; and, Diabetes & Metabolic Disease Institute. Many UC Health locations have received national recognition for outstanding quality and patient satisfaction. Learn more at UCHealth.com.

About the University of Cincinnati Foundation
Established in 1975, the University of Cincinnati Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation and the private sector fundraising entity for the University of Cincinnati and UC Health. The Foundation supports UC’s aspirations through philanthropic collaboration with the colleges, the Academic Health Center, UC Health and other units to maximize private support. The Foundation’s advancement efforts promote the development of productive, enduring relationships with alumni, friends, colleagues, students, foundations, corporations and the Greater Cincinnati community. For more information, please visit foundation.uc.edu.


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