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10 Latino Students Win National Hispanic Health Foundation Scholarships in Health Professions

(PRWEB) November 30, 2005 -- John Paul Sanchez has a ticket to his dream of becoming a doctor; so does Philip Josephs, who is seeking a career in dentistry and public health; and Yessica Diaz, a doctoral student in public health.

 “  This is the first time we’ve established a national scholarship to help Hispanic students in health professional schools reach their dream...  
They are among 10 Hispanic students who each won $1,500 scholarships in medicine, dentistry, nursing, public health and public policy at an awards ceremony Dec. 1 in New York City presented by the National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF). The event will be held at 7 p.m. at the Marriott Marquis Hotel.

“This is the first time we’ve established a national scholarship to help Hispanic students in health professional schools reach their dreams,” said Dr. Elena Rios, president and CEO of NHHF.

NHHF is the 501(c)3 arm of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), a nonprofit organization that represents Hispanic physicians in the U.S. NHHF is affiliated with the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School
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 of Public Service, which is a center of academic excellence for public service, including health policy and management, leadership and health services research.

The awards were given to outstanding students who have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership and a commitment to the Hispanic community, the nation’s largest minority group. The scholarship targets Hispanic students who have a commitment to careers in health care, including medicine, nursing, dentistry, public health, health management and policy analysis, health research, and allied health.

This year’s winners are: in dentistry, Philip Josephs, Columbia University School
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 of Dental and Oral Surgery, and Monica Haynes, University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine; in medicine, John Sanchez and Esther Vivas, Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University; in nursing, Ursula Baldoceda and Maryelena Vargas, Columbia University School of Nursing; in public health, Caricia Catalani and Yessica Diaz, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health; and in public service David Hernandez and Teodoro Norman, New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.       

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to represent the future health professionals of the field,” said Diaz, 31, a second-year doctoral student. “I think NHMA is doing great work in trying to reach out to future health professionals and supporting my education
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 and other students’ through the process.”

For Sanchez, health care is a family tradition. He has two cousins who are doctors and a brother who just graduated from medical school. “My parents are ecstatic of my love for the sciences,” said Sanchez, 27. “What makes this award so special is that it is coming from individuals who have helped to address health disparities and who are from the Latino community – people who are helping to build a public infrastructure to make sure that our needs continue to be met.”

Sanchez has a master’s degree in epidemiology from Yale University and an undergraduate degree in biology from NYU. He will start his residency in June. He plans to practice in the Bronx, where he grew up and where he feels he can make a difference in areas such as emergency medicine and AIDS.

“I was shocked by the award and because I know how competitive it was and how many students were applying for it,” said Josephs, 25, who is in his third year of dentistry and first year in public health at Columbia University. “I am truly honored by it.”

Rios said NHHF was established to develop research and educational activities to address the needs of the nation’s growing Hispanic population. Rios is also the president and founder of NHMA.

“There is a dearth of Hispanic health professionals in the United States. Only 4 percent of all physicians, 3 percent of dentists and 2 percent of nurses are Hispanic,” Rios said. “That is insufficient to meet the demands of a growing Hispanic population. NHHF hopes these scholarships will help increase those numbers and develop the future leaders in health care.”

The honorary scholarship dinner co-chairs are Assemblyman Peter Rivera, chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Mental Health, Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and the Puerto Rican Hispanic Task Force; Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, chairman of the New York State Assembly Committee on Health; Dean Ellen Schall of the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, NYU; Dean Robert Glickman, MD, New York University Medical School & CEO, New York University Medical Center; Rudy Valenzuela, FSP, MSN, RN, FNP-C, president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses; Lisa Maldonado, MPH, president of the Latino Caucus, American Public Health Association; and Mario Ramos, DMD, president, Hispanic Dental Association.

For more information on the National Hispanic Health Foundation, go to www.nhmamd.org.


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