Nearly $1 million in awards will be given to students pursuing careers in health care 

On April 26, Cook County officials joined Cook County Health leaders to announce a $1M Provident Scholarship Fund to support students who are from, and committed to caring for, underserved communities.

The Provident Scholarship Fund will be administering 60 scholarships this summer, including 30 to Health Professionals, including medical and dental students, 20 to High School senior students entering a health care program, and 10 to students in the Allied Health/Undergraduate programs.

Medical and Dental students, under the Health Professionals program will receive $20,000 scholarships, and the Allied Health/Undergraduate and High School senior students will receive $10,000 scholarships.

“With our sights set on creating a more equitable health care system that provides high-quality, culturally competent care for all, we must ensure that our health care workforce is reflective of our communities,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “It is essential that we lift up students who may not have as many academic and economic opportunities and support their aspirations for a career in health care.”

Applicants will be evaluated on their academic achievements and consideration will also be given to the candidate’s community and where it falls on the Social Vulnerability Index. The goal of this program is to provide opportunities to students coming from communities that historically have faced greater challenges, including access to education, economic opportunities, transportation, food or medical care.

“I am proud that our care team is representative of the people we serve – 59 percent of our staff are Black or Hispanic. However, our diverse team is an exception in health care,” Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said. “Having care providers who look like and have the same cultural experiences as their patients often results in better health outcomes. Mounting evidence shows that when providers and patients are of the same race or ethnicity, or share the same cultural background, a greater level of trust is developed and health outcomes may improve.”

The Cook County Board of Commissioners allocated $1 million of funding to support the scholarship program. In addition, Cook County Health Foundation (CCHF) raised $100,000 to support this year’s scholarship disbursement. To donate to the CCH Foundation, visit https://cchealthfoundation.org/.

“The pandemic has highlighted the importance of a strong health care system,” said Cook County Health Foundation Chair Joseph Flanagan. “These frontline workers are there when we need them. Let’s support them when they need it.”

The scholarship program is named after Cook County Health’s Hospital Providente. Hospital Providente was founded in 1891 by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams. It was the first hospital in the U.S. that was owned and run by African Americans, and it cared for people of all races.

Applications for the Health Professionals scholarships (Medical and Dental students) and the Allied Health/Undergraduate scholarships open today, April 26, 2022 and have a deadline of Thursday, May 26, 2022. More information about the program, including criteria and application information, can be found at https://cookcountyhealth.org/about/careers/provident-scholarship-fund/.

The high school scholarship will be administered by Chicago Public Schools. For more information, students should speak to their school leaders.

los Hospital Providente Scholarship Fund is one of many educational initiatives being supported by Cook County, including Project Rainbow, which aims to inform, inspire and impact children, students and families across the County. For more information on Project Rainbow please visit https://projectrainbow.cookcountyil.gov/ .

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