On July 31, Cook County leaders gathered to celebrate the second class of Provident Hospital Scholarship Award winners, awarding $1 million in scholarships.

The Provident Scholarship Fund recognized 60 scholarship recipients who are from, and committed to caring for, underserved communities.

Of the 60 scholarships, 30 were $20,000 scholarships to health professional students, including those in medical, dental, physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs. An additional 30 $10,000 scholarships were given to undergraduate and allied health students, including those nursing, surgical and radiology technology, respiratory therapy and paramedic programs. Ten recipients also received scholarships last year.

“We must ensure that our health care workforce is reflective of the communities it serves, and I am proud that Cook County is taking the initiative to make that happen,” Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle said. “Working to remove some of the financial barriers that keep qualified students from advancing their studies is a critical step in achieving equity in the workforce.”

“By fostering medical professionals who are from communities where opportunity is not abundant, we hope to create a health care delivery system that is representative of the patients we serve and provides care that is both high-quality and equitable for all,” Cook County Health CEO Israel Rocha said.

Applicants were evaluated on their academic achievements and consideration was given to the candidate’s Cook County zip code and where it falls on the Social Vulnerability Index.

The Provident Scholarship is funded thanks to Cook County Government, Cook County Health and the Cook County Health Foundation. To donate to the CCH Foundation, visit cchealthfoundation.org/about/.

“The foundation is honored to have been able to award $1M in scholarships to such an impressive group of talented scholars,” Cook County Health Foundation Executive Director Sylvia M. Zaldivar said. “It was a privilege to witness the pride and joy expressed by each student and their families. These funds will empower 60 aspiring medical professionals to make a positive impact in their communities. With our continued support and mentoring, we hope that in the near future, they will join our efforts to forge a new era of health equity in Cook County.”

The scholarship program is named after Cook County Health’s Provident HospitalProvident Hospital 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.

The Provident Hospital 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/.