October 3, 2003

PacifiCare Announces Its Latino Health Scholar Winners

 Bilingual, bicultural student awarded $2,000 scholarship to pursue health care career

 Scholarship program addresses nationwide shortage of Spanish-speaking health care workers

Arianna Velez, Joanna Hernandez, Karla Simental and Nancy Martinez were awarded a $2,000 scholarship from PacifiCare’s Latino Health Scholars program.

The scholarships are funded by the PacifiCare Foundation, the nonprofit, philanthropic arm of Cypress, Calif.-based PacifiCare Health Systems, Inc. are part of the company’s Latino Health Scholar program. Designed to educate students about career opportunities for Hispanics and Latinos in the health care field, the Latino Health Scholars program established thirty-two (32) $2,000 scholarships for Spanish-speaking, bicultural high-school students interested in pursuing careers in the health care industry.

In order to qualify for a scholarship, applicants are required to demonstrate a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0 or better and be fluent in Spanish and English. In addition, applicants must show proof of acceptance and enrollment into an approved health care program at a university, community college or accredited technical college.

Arianna Velez, of Chula Vista, is enrolled at University of California, Davis and is majoring in Psychology.

“I’m really excited to have been chosen as a scholarship winner,” said Velez. “My goal is to eventually become a general surgeon. I want to be able to take what I’ve learned and give back to the community where I grew up and help people live healthier lives. I want to thank PacifiCare for helping me pursue a career in the medical field.”

According to the Office of Minority Health, there is a nationwide shortage of bilingual and bicultural health care professionals. Specifically, the shortage of Spanish-speaking personnel in nursing and other allied health professions, coupled with the growth of the Latino population in the United States, requires training and recruitment of an ever-greater number of qualified professionals.

Joanna Hernandez, of Chula Vista, enrolled at University of California, Los Angeles, is majoring in history with hopes of becoming a pediatrician.

Bonita resident Karla Simental is enrolled at University of California, Riverside and is majoring in Biochemistry and Fallbrook resident, Nancy Martinez, is enrolled at California State University, San Marcos and hopes to become a pediatrician.

“There is a need nationwide for more culturally and linguistically appropriate care, especially in California, where more than one-third of the population are of Latino origin,” said Russell Bennett, PacifiCare’s vice president of Latino Health Solutions. “We named Arianna a Latino Health Scholar because of her excellence in academic studies and for expressing a passion for helping others. Arianna Share PacifiCare’s belief that ‘Caring is Good. Doing Something is Better.’”

PacifiCare launched its Latino Health Solutions division last year to build stronger ties with Latino members, physicians and organizations and to offer health and consumer services and products tailored to meet the unique health care needs of Latinos. More information about PacifiCare and Latino Health Solutions is available via the PacifiCare en Español Web site, www.pacificarelatino.com, or via email at latinohealth@phs.com. Spanish-speaking customer-service representatives are available via a dedicated toll-free number at 800-730-7270.

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