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Health Equity Scholarships 2023

Following up from our last post about scholarships, our PA program is proud to announce the recipients of the Health Equity Scholarship (granted through MDH). This scholarship is aimed at increasing healthcare professionals in less accessible areas, and is awarded to students planning on entering healthcare for rural and underserved areas.

When students train in rural and underserved settings, they are more likely to return upon graduating. Increasing training opportunities in rural and underserved settings for health professionals can ultimately increase access to health care in rural and underserved communities in Minnesota.


gallery of the mdh scholarship winners

When discussing the scholarship and their current and future clinical experiences, they each had the following to highlight about themselves:

Nicholle, after visiting a clinic that works with LGBTQ+ individuals, learned more about individual’s experiences and the barriers that the community faces, notes that “I strive to give each patient the individual attention they deserve and listen to their stories with respect. It is vital to learn about people with different backgrounds in order to be a better provider.”

In rural areas like CHI St. Gabriel’s Health Family Medical Center, Kelsey was able to see the strength of having connections with individual patient and “I believe seeing the patient as a whole person can give value to the quality of care I want to strive for in my career.  Each patient has an intricate unique story that has needs that might be beyond the routine checklist”.

Ron Toledo Cardoso in his clinical rotations, has seen firsthand the effects of the barriers of healthcare, “While I am interested in working with the underserved population, I have a specific interest in the Hispanic population. There is recognized healthcare gap in access to healthcare, leading to poor health outcomes for the Hispanic population.” he states he will continue to be an advocate for patients who may not know what resources are available to them.

One student with a wider range of experience, Amanda, mentions her previous 2 rotations including Sanford Worthington Medical Center and Urgent Care in Worthington, MN. She notes challenges int his kind of setting:

“I realized the amount of responsibility there is in being a rural provider. Often waiting days for consults, she would need to make independent decisions to develop plans for patients to receive timely care. Also understanding that facilities and resources for more advanced care are hours away, we would need to make thoughtful considerations into when it was appropriate to transfer.”

Lauren Altman, who was with Hennepin Healthcare, found how to navigate her own biases, and took away important tools for getting future patients the resources they need:

“I learned to throw judgment out the window, treat the whole person and focus on making decisions which will benefit each patient long term. It was here I learned the importance of cultural humility, listening, building trust, and having empathy in caring for these patients. I greatly appreciate the efforts this hospital is making toward healthcare equality.”


Our final recipient has already had some broad experience as a pediatrician in Syria, and drew on her prior knowledge and explained her rural rotations were beneficial as “I got more experience when rural communities depended on me to be available all hours of the day and night. As a result, I often ended up significantly better, and spent more time with my patients.” she continues to state she wants to continue helping children and families get care with fewer barriers.

We congratulate all our recipients!