December 13, 2002

Prestigious Scholars Program Brings Latino College Students to Washington, DC to Experience Federal Legislative Process

WASHINGTON, DC — How does federal health policy affect health care in Latino communities? What steps can federal policymakers take to better meet the health care needs of Latinos and other traditionally underserved populations? How can federal health policy improve minority communities’ access to quality health care? This summer, 13 minority college students and recent graduates will learn the answers to these questions and much more as Barbara Jordan health Policy Scholars.

The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program brings talented college students and recent graduates to Washington, DC to intern in congressional offices and learn about health policy. The Scholars program is open to all minority students, but Latino students are particularly encouraged to apply. The Scholars Program is now accepting applications for the session beginning in May 2003. The application deadline is January 31, 2003.

The Kaiser Family Foundation established the Scholars Program, which is based at Howard University, to honor the legacy of U.S. Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, who was a Foundation Trustee. Through the nine-week Program, Scholars gain valuable knowledge about federal legislative procedure and health policy issues, while further developing their critical thinking and leadership skills. In addition to an internship in a congressional office, Scholars participate in seminars, lectures and site visits to augment their knowledge of health care issues. They also write and present a health policy research paper.

Scholars Program alumni Jennifer Aguayo and Jaime Valdez both embarked on careers in the field of health policy after completing the Scholars Program in 2001. As a Scholar working in the office of U.S. Representative Dick Gephardt (D-MO), Aguayo experienced the health policy process firsthand. Aguayo applied to the Scholars Program while she was a senior at Stanford University because she “thought it would be the perfect opportunity to augment the coursework in health policy I had undertaken as a student by allowing me to see the actual process. I was amazed that such an exciting opportunity existed for students of color interested in health policy,” she said.

Eligible candidates for the Scholars Program must be U.S. citizens who are juniors or seniors in college or recent college graduates. Current law, medical and graduate students are not eligible to apply to the Program. Candidates are selected based on academic performance, demonstrated leadership potential and interest in health policy. Scholars receive approximately $5,000 in support, which includes a stipend, daily expense allowance, airfare and lodging. While in Washington, DC, Scholars reside at Howard University.

Application forms and additional information about the Program are available online at http://www.kff.org/docs/topics/jordanscholars.html. All application materials are due by January 31, 2003.

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