United Health Foundation
Guided by a passion to help people live healthier lives, United Health Foundation provides helpful information to support decisions that lead to better health outcomes and healthier communities. The Foundation also supports activities that expand access to quality health care services for those in challenging circumstances and partners with others to improve the well being of communities.
For the past five years, the United Health Foundation has partnered with the American Indian College Fund providing scholarships to exemplary American Indian students from New Mexico and Arizona who are pursuing a degree in a health field and who maintain at least a 3.0 GPA. The United Health Foundation Tribal Scholars Program also provides additional opportunities for students to attend the United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Forum in Washington, D.C. For more information, visit www.unitedhealthfoundation.org.
2010-2011 United Health scholarship recipients in Washington, D.C. Karen King is pictured in the center.
School: Diné College
Major: Health Occupation and Business Administration
The National Cancer Institute research notes that American Indians suffer disproportionately from cancer and its adverse affects. Karen King (Navajo) knows that firsthand. Karen lost her mother to the disease and later fought it herself. But cancer didn’t defeat Karen, it merely hardened her resolve to achieve her childhood dream to become a nurse and help her people. Thanks to the United Health Foundation, Karen is doing just that.
Karen said her mother, one of 16 children, lost many of her siblings at birth or at a young age “because health care wasn’t like it is today,” Karen said. As a young woman, her mother was widowed with two children after her arranged Navajo marriage. She later met Karen’s father and had Karen and her five siblings. Her father left when Karen was two, and Karen’s mother, who only spoke Navajo, raised the family alone while struggling to navigate the English-speaking world. Karen says she was her inspiration because “she wanted me to go to high school and beyond. She saw into the future and what it can hold with an education and what it could do.”
Her own battle with cancer cemented Karen’s ambition to become a nurse. “I became stronger. I look at it as a small chapter in my life,” Karen said.
Karen's four children and husband have been supportive of her education. As a United Health Foundation Tribal Scholar, Karen finishing her final semester at Diné College this May and while taking coursework at Northern Arizona University towards her bachelor’s degree. The United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars program provides scholarships and program opportunities for American Indian students who are committed to improving the health of their communities by closing the health disparities gap through culturally competent health care delivery.
Kate Rubin, President of the United Health Foundation, said, “Research shows that when patients receive care from those who share their language, culture and ethnicity, they are more likely to accept and receive medical treatment. United Health Foundation is committed to developing tomorrow’s health care workforce and ensuring that diverse communities have access to quality, culturally competent care. By partnering with the American Indian College Fund, we are encouraging Native American students to continue their education and become health care professionals who will help expand and enhance health care services, particularly in underserved communities.”
Click here to see an interview with Karen King at her home that appeared on a special about education on Deutshe Welle, an international television network.
Click here for more information about our American Indian College Fund Full Circle scholarship programs »