Eight students receive diversity bursaries for post-secondary health studies

Donalda MacIsaac (Cobequid Community Health Board Volunteer), Natalie Perkins, Kristy Barnaby, Shelina Gordon (Halifax CHB Volunteer), Kristen Hemming, Sonya Williams (Southeastern CHB Volunteer), Pascaline Ngweniform and Solome Ejigu.

Eight local university students received diversity bursaries from Nova Scotia Health Authority’s Central Zone (Halifax area and West Hants) at a Sept. 22 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 this bursary is an honour. Not only is the money extremely helpful, but as a mature adult with three children and returning to school to further my education, being selected means so much more,” said Beverley Bower.  “I am now a proud graduate of the Practical Nursing program at NSCC and feel fortunate to have the honour of knowing I will always be one of the alumni of this generous bursary.”

Having more diversity within the staff population results in a richer, more vibrant workplace and an environment in which patients, clients and families see themselves reflected.

“Tonight we celebrate diversity and the important role it plays not only in our future as an organization, but also as a community,” said Bruce English, Director, People Services, Central Zone.

Applications were evaluated based on community involvement, financial need and field of study. The 2016 diversity bursary recipients are as follows:

Beverley Bowers, Practical Nursing- NSCC
Kristy Burnaby, Bachelor of Science Neuroscience and Psychology, Dalhousie University
Natalie Perkins, Masters in Social Work, Dalhousie University
Pascaline Ngweniform,  Pharmacy, Dalhousie University
Solome Ejigu,  Nursing,  Dalhousie University
Tung Vu, Pharmacy, Dalhousie University
Kristen Hemming,  Health Promotion, Dalhousie University
Meredith Cox, Health Promotion, Dalhousie University

“Many students from marginalized communities face financial challenges in going to university so this is one way we can support them in their studies,” said Anna Jacobs, event organizer.

Providing improved services to diverse groups will create a diverse workforce and show the health care system is a place for specific groups to work.

In granting these bursaries, Nova Scotia Health Authority wants students to know diversity is truly valued. As students pursing education in the health professions are the future workforce of NSHA.

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