Blue Shield of California is investing $7 million over five years into a new fellowship program at the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health that aims to increase diversity among healthcare professionals and train them to use data and analytics to improve public health and health equity.
The first class of 20 students in the "Blue Shield of California Health Equity Fellowship program" will begin in August. Over the next five years, the program will support around 100 Black, Native American, Hispanic and Pacific Islander master's and doctoral candidates, according to a May 19 press release.
The payer will also provide fellows with internships and access to professional mentors and anticipates hiring many of them upon graduation.
In addition, the fellowship offers students additional resources and opportunities:
- Early outreach and recruitment to prospective fellows
- Tutoring and career services
- Leadership and professional development workshops
- Educational and mental health counseling
- Social activities and networking opportunities with fellowship alumni
- Opportunities to apply biostatistics and advanced analytics expertise to real business challenges
"At Blue Shield, we want to create a healthcare system that's worthy of all our family and friends, and sustainably affordable. Ensuring that care is equitable is a big part of that, and one way we can help make that happen is employing people with diverse backgrounds and perspectives, who can use analytics and relate to the needs of our members," President and CEO Paul Markovich said. "I'm excited about this program because it creates a path to do just that, and I look forward to welcoming the first fellows this fall."