Originally published on nshealth.ca
Joana Eyong is one of 25 local university students who received a Diversity in Health Care Bursary funded by the QEII Foundation at a celebration held in the Bethune Ballroom at the QEII Health Sciences Centre on Wednesday evening.
The bursaries are one way in which the QEII Foundation and Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) are working to encourage further education and greater diversity in the workforce.
The annual Diversity in Health Care Bursaries were launched in 2015 following the results of a workforce diversity survey completed in the Halifax and West Hants areas that flagged under-representation of marginalized groups as a key issue.
The $1,000 bursaries are earmarked for students who are African Nova Scotian, Indigenous, immigrants, members of the LGBTQ2S+ community and/or a persons with a disability.
For students like Eyong, receiving a Diversity in Health Care Bursary is a positive step toward increasing diversity in the health professions.
“Receiving the Diversity in Health Care Bursary makes me think more about diversity and how it impacts health care delivery. Having diverse health care staff that understand patients’ belief systems and values has a huge influence on health care, especially because quality care is very important and having health care professionals from diverse cultures goes a long way to enhance patients’ comfort and positive health outcomes.”
Now that the Diversity in Health Care Bursary has been in place for a few years, NSHA is beginning to see past recipients joining its workforce.
“It’s wonderful to see this program beginning to have the effect we had hoped for, and we look forward to continuing our work to build a diverse workforce,” said Vickie Sullivan, executive director of operations for NSHA’s Central Zone (Halifax area, Eastern Shore and West Hants).
“We know that increasing our workforce diversity will benefit our work environment and, most importantly, patients from diverse communities will see themselves reflected in those who provide care and service.”
The QEII Foundation is happy to support the Diversity in Health Care Bursary, knowing that education is an investment in a stronger, more diverse healthcare workforce that better reflects the communities we serve.
“The QEII is the region’s largest adult health sciences centre and health care training facility,” said Julie MacKean, vice-president of philanthropy for the QEII Foundation. “It’s important to us, and to our donors, that the QEII reflects the many communities we serve. We want to help create a vibrant work environment dedicated to improving and, in many cases, saving the lives of patients.”
Applications were evaluated based on community involvement, financial need and field of study. The 2019 diversity bursary recipients are as follows:
* A selection committee made up of a representative from each of the seven community health boards in Central Zone (Halifax area, Eastern Shore and West Hants), and a representative of the QEII Foundation, reviewed the applications and selected the recipients