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BLUE SHIELD OF CALIFORNIA TO INVEST $7 MILLION IN NEW HEALTH EQUITY FELLOWSHIP AT UC BERKELEY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH
Investment supports graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds, with a focus on developing diverse healthcare leaders
MAY 19, 2022
OAKLAND, Calif. (May 19, 2022) – Blue Shield of California today announced it will invest $7 million over five years for a new fellowship program at UC Berkeley School of Public Health to support graduate students from underrepresented communities. The program, which aims to increase diversity among health professionals, will train fellows to leverage data and analytics to improve public health and advance health equity.
The first cohort of 20 students in the Blue Shield of California Health Equity Fellowship program will begin in August 2022. Over the next five years, the program will support approximately 100 master’s and doctoral candidates, funding students from a diverse range of communities – including African American, Native American, Latinx, and Pacific Islander backgrounds – groups that are under-represented in the healthcare industry in California, particularly in senior leadership positions.
The nonprofit health plan also will provide fellows with real-world professional experiences –including internships and access to mentors – to address complex healthcare challenges. Blue Shield anticipates hiring many of the fellows upon graduation.
“The health inequities that emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us the need to build healthcare policies and practices in a culturally sensitive way,” said DD Johnice, vice president of the Health Transformation Lab at Blue Shield of California. “Having members of underrepresented communities on the teams that design and build new health solutions, as well as lead innovative healthcare organizations, is critical to transforming health care. We cannot achieve health equity without growing and supporting diverse, top talent.”
UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean Michael C. Lu said, “This fellowship will create a pipeline of underrepresented talent in public health and offer wrap-around support – including tutoring and mentoring, projects and internships, cohort experience, and leadership development – to assure their success. I am grateful to Blue Shield of California for their partnership in helping us build a better and stronger, more diverse and inclusive public health system.”