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KU Med Student Awarded United Health Foundation Scholarship

Marcus Rushing of Overland Park received a prestigious award allowing him to begin his third year pursuing a Doctorate of Medicine.

Marcus Rushing has been awarded a scholarship from United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative to pursue a career in health care. Rushing, from Overland Park, will begin his third year at the University of Kansas School of Medicine in the fall, pursuing a Doctorate of Medicine.

United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative, through its partner organizations, awarded $1.2 million in scholarships in the 2012-2013 school year to 200 students from diverse, multicultural backgrounds, with nearly $2 million in scholarships announced for 2013-2014. This is part of the foundation’s ongoing commitment to build a more diverse health care workforce.  

“We know patients do best when they are treated by people who understand their language and culture,” said Kate Rubin, president, United Health Foundation. “United Health Foundation is grateful for the opportunity to support these outstanding students who are demonstrating impressive purpose and passion and who will help lead the way to better health access and outcomes.”  

Although uncertain of the branch of medicine he will enter upon graduation, Rushing sees himself as both an educator and an advocate in the future.  “I envision practicing medicine in an academic setting, as this seems like an ideal venue to contribute to the advancement of patient care and to have a role in training the next generation of health professionals,” said Rushing. “At times, managing fiscal responsibilities while simultaneously striving for academic excellence can be a very delicate balancing act. This United Health Foundation scholarship has granted me the much needed privilege of being able to solely focus on honing my skills as a clinician and scholar.”  

United Health Foundation made the announcement at its fifth annual Diverse Scholars Forum, which brings more than 60scholarship recipients to Washington, D.C., July 24-26 to celebrate the scholars and inspire them to work toward strengthening the nation’s health care system. This year’s event gives these future health care professionals the opportunity to meet and interact with members of Congress and leaders from a variety of health care fields.  

According to the American Medical Association and Association of American Medical Colleges, the number of multicultural health professionals is disproportionately low when compared to the overall population. For example, while about 15 percent of the U.S. population is Hispanic/Latino, only 5 percent of physicians and 4 percent of registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino. About 12 percent of the population is African American, yet only 6 percent of physicians and 5 percent of registered nurses are African American.  

Given the changing demographics in the United States and the volumes of people entering the health care system due to the Affordable Care Act, there is an even greater need for a more diverse health care workforce.