Independence Blue Cross and Temple collaborate on new scholarship program for nursing students
A new path for students of color to earn a nursing degree was celebrated at Tuesday morning’s press conference at the Charles Library. The Independence Blue Cross Foundation announced a grant of $ 750,000 to fund a new scholarship program, in collaboration with Temple, to create a direct path for students from under-represented communities to progress from high school to college and nursing .
The Independence Foundation Healthcare Scholarship Pipeline program will offer a four-year college scholarship that will cover tuition and tuition fees for up to 20 students to graduate from nurse at Temple’s College of Public Health.
Justine Jones, class of 2025, a freshman nursing at Temple and a graduate of Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia, was the cohort’s speaker at the press conference.
The North Philadelphia native said she is grateful for the Independence Foundation scholarship program as it gives her the opportunity to achieve her goals of being a trauma nurse and giving back to her community.
Independence Foundation Healthcare Scholars Pipeline Program recipient Justine Jones speaking at a press conference at the Charles Library. (Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg)
“I chose nursing so I could make a difference in people’s lives. I believe you can change a person’s perspective on life during a date, ”she said. “By receiving this scholarship, I will be able to have more time to devote to my studies and ensure that I get the training I need to be successful as a nurse. “
After earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing, Jones plans to continue her education with a master’s degree in science and nursing with a research focus focused on the health of African Americans and women’s health. She also intends to earn a doctorate in nursing practice to teach others and help facilitate healthy lifestyle choices.
“The best way to give back to my community is to help them emotionally and physically get through the things that are going on in Philadelphia,” she added. “I intend to use my life to have an impact on others, to be of service to my community and to contribute to the well-being of others. “
Other Independence Scholarship recipients are Hannah Mahler, Jamirah Branch, Sahira De Los Santos-Tapia, and Sakeesha “Keke” Similien.
Temple President Jason Wingard said the partnership with Independence provides an opportunity to fulfill the university’s mission of serving students in the community and helping them find jobs that will also allow them to give back to their community. .
“This type of program will reach out to the community and establish a pool of students who otherwise would not have this kind of opportunity, and then we bring them to Temple University to get degrees and training through a curriculum. innovative in nursing, ”said President Wingard. . “It’s phenomenal.”
“It’s important for us at Temple University to make sure that the students we train and prepare are able to meet the demands of the workforce, so that they can get jobs, be ready to do those things well. work and stay in paid employment for their careers, “he explained.
Gregory E. Deavens, President and CEO of Independence Health Group, said the company is proud to support Temple in providing the scholarships.
“We are excited to be working with Temple to train the next generation of nurses, right here in Greater Philadelphia,” said Deavens. “This is a way for us to target racial and economic disparities that must be reduced or eliminated in order for America’s health care system to reach its full potential.”
“If we have a diverse health workforce who recognizes the humanity of all the patients they serve and provides culturally competent care, we will take one step closer to creating true health equity,” he said. -he adds. “We need to make sure that economic hardship does not hamper young people who wish to pursue careers in nursing.”
Deavens noted that throughout the company’s 20-year journey to support nursing initiatives, it has invested more than $ 26 million in nursing education and other programs.
Jennifer Brown, assistant professor of nursing at Temple, is leading the initiative. Brown, who was a first-generation student, said her role at the College of Public Health is driven by her passion to promote positive outcomes for vulnerable populations both in communities and schools, and to help prepare the next generation of public health nurses.
She said the Independence Foundation’s new program will help change the trajectory of students’ lives.
“This pipeline program will allow these students to devote their time and effort to their studies. This will help reduce their financial strains, build a secure future and reduce unemployment in their communities, ”she said. “Most of these students are the first in their families to attend university. Their success will be transformative.
She added that the Temple Health System will also provide internship and employment opportunities for nursing students towards the end of their first year and after graduation.
“The program strengthens Temple’s commitment to providing opportunities that will create social change,” she added. “It will help change the landscape of nursing and include diversity in the organization of health care in Philadelphia and beyond.”