Meet Osvaldo - A 2012 Recipient
Osvaldo Amezcua was named one of the foundation’s Diverse Scholars in 2012. He was born in Michoacan, Mexico, a farming village with limited access to educational opportunities. At the age of 4, Osvaldo moved with his family to Salinas, California, where his parents worked long days on nearby farms earning minimum wage. Osvaldo avoided local gangs, worked hard at school and became the first member of his family to attend college. Today, Osvaldo is pursuing his Doctorate of Dental Surgery at the University of California San Francisco School of Dentistry.
"My goal is to establish a successful dental practice in Monterey County where I can serve the high number of working farm families who are primarily Spanish speaking," said Osvaldo. "My background will allow me to connect with them and make sure they receive adequate dental care." » READ MORE
Meet Omasiel - A 2011 Recipient
Omasiel Comrie-Reinert was among the students who received a scholarship from the United Health Foundation in 2011. After emigrating from Panama, and while still learning English, Omasiel was hospitalized and experienced firsthand the challenges faced by someone not receiving culturally competent care.
This experience inspired her to go into the field of nursing. “I want to be able to truly understand the needs of patients and to deliver to them the best care possible,” she said. She is making great progress toward her goal. Having graduated Magna Cum Laude with her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Omasiel has now turned her attention to an advanced degree and plans to be in a Master of Science — Nursing program this fall.
“I have seen firsthand the need that exists in the health care system now for professionals from a diverse background,” said Omasiel. “I’m so grateful to have been awarded this scholarship as it’s allowing me to continue to work hard to achieve my dream.” » READ MORE
Meet Jackie - A 2010 Recipient
Jackie Nevarez, a nursing and massage therapy student at the University of Texas - El Paso, was among the Diverse Scholars Initiative recipients in 2010. Jackie said that when she found out she had been awarded a scholarship from the United Health Foundation she felt a special sense of accomplishment. “It gave me a huge opportunity and it definitely helped financially,” said Jackie. “But it also felt really good that I did it on my own. My mom didn’t have to pay or work more to help me.”
Jackie was motivated in a very personal way to pursue a health care career. At 9 years old she was diagnosed with the autoimmune disease lupus. Over time, the disease damaged her kidneys, and at 10 she was receiving blood dialysis treatments. By the time she turned 16, Jackie had undergone a kidney transplant.
“With my personal experiences and growing knowledge, I hope to educate those in the health care field to better understand the needs of the people they encounter and help them serve their community in a more personal way.” » READ MORE
Meet Tenai - A 2009 Recipient
Tenai Roan is an inspiring student who has benefitted from the Diverse Scholars Initiative. Raised on a small reservation in the town of Church Rock, New Mexico, Tenai always knew that she wanted a career where she could help people. But like many students in lower income communities, she didn’t know how she could pay for college and make her dream a reality. She knew she was smart enough — and had the support of her friends and family — but the key was identifying the right opportunity to make it happen.
Her mother relocated to Arizona so Tenai could attend a small school where she would get more personalized attention; but with a United Health Foundation scholarship Tenai was able to attend Arizona State University. When Tenai received word of her scholarship she and her mom “freaked out,” said Tenai. “It’s made such a huge difference in my ability to pay for school and focus on learning rather than how I was going to pay for school.” Tenai has a stellar 3.78 GPA at Arizona State and is pursuing a degree in pediatric nursing.
She is committed to using her degree — and the opportunity that she has received — to return to Church Rock and help those in need. This kind of support can make a real difference in underserved communities.
According to Richard B. Williams, president and CEO, American Indian College Fund, “The majority of our tribal college graduates return to their communities with the desire to improve the lives of their people. What better way to do so than to use a scholarship to earn an education to help solve the disproportionate health care issues affecting Native people.” » READ MORE