Nine students awarded diversity bursaries for post-secondary health studies

Diversity Bursary Recipients 2017 - two absent
L to R: Sudi Jelle, Kirsty Upshaw, Tyler Brothers, Madi Sutton, Derek Garson, Janice Arndt and Leah Carrier. Absent: Rhonda Atwell and Marleen Jean-Louis

Nine local university students received diversity bursaries from Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Central Zone (Halifax area and West Hants) at a Sept. 26 celebration at the QEII Health Sciences Centre. The bursaries are one way in which NSHA is working to encourage greater diversity in the workforce.

Following the results of a 2010 workforce diversity survey, several initiatives were put in place to respond to the under-representation of four groups: African Nova Scotians, Aboriginal people, new immigrants and people with disabilities. To support and encourage students from these four communities to continue post-secondary studies in a health-related field, the organization introduced diversity bursaries in 2015.

“Receiving the NSHA Diversity Bursary has helped me on so many levels,” says Rhonda Atwell, fourth-year health promotion student at Dalhousie University. “As an African Nova Scotian woman, mature student and single mother of three, the barriers to pursing a higher education can be multiple and overwhelming. It is with the added assistance of this award that I have been able to continue on this educational path in a program that I am very passionate about.”

“We know that having a diverse workplace creates a richer environment for those who work within NSHA,” said Joanne Stone, Director of People Services. “We also know that it allows patients and clients of all experiences and backgrounds to see themselves reflected, which in turn leads to better access to care, and improved health.”

Applications were evaluated based on community involvement, financial need and field of study. The 2017 diversity bursary recipients are as follows:
• Janice Arndt
• Rhonda Atwell
• Tyler Brothers
• Leah Carrier
• Derek Garson
• Marleen Jean-Louis
• Sudi Jelle
• Madi Sutton
• Kirsty Upshaw

“We commend all of these students for their hard work and are happy to make this contribution to their studies, knowing that it is an investment in our collective future,” said Stone.

*Selection criteria were established by an advisory committee made up of NSHA staff, Nova Scotia Community College African Canadian Student Services, Dalhousie Global Health Office, Native Council of Nova Scotia, YMCA Immigrant Settlement Program, and community health board members. A separate committee made up of a representative from each of the seven community health boards in Central Zone reviewed the applications and selected the nine recipients.

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