Diversity in Health Care Scholarship and Stipend Fund

Communities Lifting Communities (CLC), a nonprofit initiative of the Hospital Association of Southern California (HASC), is pleased to launch the fundraising campaign for the Diversity in Health Care Scholarship and Stipend Fund. The goal of this scholarship fund is to help expand a more diverse hospital workforce by providing financial assistance to students currently employed in HASC member hospitals, with special consideration for those from communities traditionally underrepresented in the field.

Statewide, hospitals have an urgent need for talented, compassionate and diverse professionals for positions in primary care, nursing, laboratory technology, administration and many other positions. These shortages existed before the COVID-19 global pandemic and have since intensified. While no single solution can address all of the multifaceted barriers to increasing the number of trained health professionals, especially from underrepresented minority (URM) backgrounds, the Diversity in Health Care Scholarship and Stipend Fund aims to tackle one of the main identified challenges.

Goal: Help Address Financial Hurdles

According to a 2018 HealthForce Center at UCSF study, one prominent barrier to increasing the number of URMs in health care is the monetary cost, regardless of the career program or pathway chosen. The study indicates that financial challenges are even more pronounced for URMs than for other racial/ethnic groups, as they are more likely to have lower socioeconomic status.

CLC received official recognition as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization in 2021. As part of CLC’s mission to help reduce health disparities and improve community health throughout Southern California, the scholarship fund offers an opportunity to reduce the financial burden experienced by students, and especially URM students, as they pursue careers in health care. By assisting students in reaching their goals, and increasing the diversity of health care staff, this initiative will also help reduce disparities and improve outcomes for hospitalized patients, says Susan Harrington, president of CLC.

HASC is proud to partner with CLC in changing the health care landscape by breaking down financial barriers to education. This initiative also will benefit HASC member hospitals by assisting workers in attaining professional skills, knowledge and expertise needed to fill the critical hospital vacancies, explains Teri Hollingsworth, the association’s vice president of human resources and education services.