Monday, August 4, 2014

PA’s Diverse Scholars attend health forum in D.C.

Meet Sophia Barrios, a sophomore majoring in bio-behavioral health at Pennsylvania State University who intends to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine and serve underrepresented communities, particularly children. Sophia is the secretary of Penn State’s Latino Caucus, an umbrella organization for 19 Latino organizations, and a 2014 United Health Foundation Diverse Scholar.

Chiemeka Onyima of Philadelphia’s East Falls/Germantown area is a first year medical student at Drexel University College of Medicine. He holds a bachelor of science in biochemistry and molecular biology from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County.  Onyima intends to become an anesthesiologist and specialize in pain medicine. He hopes to devote much of his career to developing hospitals and improving health care in West Africa.

Sophia and Chiemeka were awarded scholarships from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue careers in primary health care. 

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, will award nearly $2 million in scholarships during the 2014-15 school years to students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds. The initiative aims to increase diversity in the health care workforce by supporting promising future health professionals as they pursue their education. The Diverse Scholars program is part of United Health Foundation’s ongoing commitment to building a more diverse health workforce.

Since 2007, United Health Foundation has awarded more than 1,400 scholarships totaling $9.3 million to support diverse students pursing health careers.

United Health Foundation announced the 2014-15 scholarships at its sixth annual Diverse Scholars Forum. This year’s forum is the largest yet, bringing more than 100 scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., from July 23 to 26, to celebrate their accomplishments and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation's health care system. This year's forum provided the scholars with opportunities to hear from members of Congress and leaders in a variety of health fields, and to network with and learn from one another.

Congratulations to Sophia, Chiemeka and all of the scholarship recipients. I look forward to the celebrating the advances in health care that will come from your dedication and commitment to helping all Americans.

For more information about the Diverse Scholars Initiative, visit

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