MSU scholarship program seeks to advance racial and health equity

December 21 – MANKATO – A new scholarship program aims to help Minnesota State University students advance racial and health equity in their future fields.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota has pledged $ 500,000 to the program, which MSU President Edward Inch announced on Monday.

In addition to funding 24 scholarships over a seven-year period, Blue Cross Blue Shield will also contribute $ 20,000 to MSU’s Undergraduate Research Center.

The scholarships aim to create more career paths in healthcare and other impactful fields for Black, Indigenous and Colored students, or BIPOCs, said Bukata Hayes, vice president of racial equity and sanitary facilities at Blue Cross Blue Shield.

“We see this as a way to offer BIPOC students in these disciplines opportunities to support them financially to obtain their degrees,” he said. “Our hope and goal is also to provide them with internships and experiences through Blue Cross Blue Shield that help them make the transition to their field. “

In addition to the majors from the University College of Medicine and Nursing, the funding will also go to students in the colleges of education, sociological and behavioral sciences, engineering and technology, said William Broussard, associate vice president of the MSU to University Advancement.

“Ideal people will see through an equity lens how they can improve society in the work they do,” he said.

The equity goals of the university and the company align, he added, making scholarships a good way for them to train students to make a difference.

“We are grateful to Blue Cross Blue Shield for deciding to take this step with us and partner with us in this way,” he said. “It’s something that could be transformational for us.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield has focused on the social determinants of health – factors outside of clinical care that affect a person’s health outcomes – in recent years. It has added racial and health equity to the core of its activities in 2020, with scholarships being a new way to support students interested in advancing equity both in health care and in other areas related to health. social determinants of health.

Students will receive $ 5,000 per year for four years as part of the programs. The application and assessment process will take place in the spring semester 2022, Broussard said, followed by scholarships in the fall semester.

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